House of Representatives
24 February 1972

27th Parliament · 2nd Session

Mr SPEAKER (Hon. Sir William Aston) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

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Bangla Desh: Refugee Relief


– I present the following petition:

To the honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of certain citizens of the Commonwealth respectfully shows that there are still many refugees in India in urgent need of aid.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Government immediately increase Australia’s contribution for refugee relief in Bangla Desh by $10 million and take action so that the refugees may return to their homes. And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

Petition received.

Bangla Desh: Refugee Relief


– I present the following petition:

To the honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of certain citizens ef the Commonwealth respectfully shows that there are still many refugees in India in urgent need of aid.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Government immediately increase Australia’s contribution for refugee relief in Bangla Desh by $10 million and take action so that the refugees may return to their homes.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

Petition received.

Lake Pedder


– I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The bumble petition of the undersigned citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia respectfully showeth:

That Lake Pedder, situated in the Lake Pedder National Park in South-West Tasmania, is threatened with inundation as part of the Gordon River hydro-electric power scheme.

That an alternative scheme exists, which, if implemented would avoid inundation of thislake.

That Lake Pedder and the surrounding wilderness area are of such beauty and scientific interest as to be of a value beyond monetary consideration.

And that some unique species of flora and fauna will be in danger of extinction if this area is inundated.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Federal Government take immediate steps to act on behalf of all Australian people to preserve Lake Pedder in its natural state. Allpresent and particularly future Australians will Benefit by being able to escape from their usual environment to rebuild their physical and mental strength in this unspoilt wilderness area.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

Petition received and read.

Australian Capital Territory Education Authority


-I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of residents of the Division of the Australian Capital Territory respectfully showeth:

That there is a likelihood that education in the Australian Capital Territory will in the foreseeable future be made independent of the New South Wales education system; That the decentralization of education systems throughout Australia is educationally and administratively desirable, and is now being studied by several State Government Departments;

That the Australian Capital Territory is a homogeneous and coherent unit especially favourable for such studies.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that a Committee of Enquiry, on which are represented the Department of Education and Science, institutions of tertiary education, practising educators, and the Canberra community, be instituted to enquire into the form that an Australian Capital Territory Education Authority should take, the educational principles and philosophy that should underlie it, and its mode of operation and administration.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

Petition received.

Richmond Airport


– I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition from certain residents of the western suburbs of the Sydney metropolitan area and surrounding districts respectfully showeth: That due to an expanding passenger air travel business together with larger and more powerful jet aircraft, aircraft noise has already become a serious problem for people living in the vicinity of airports.

That jet aircraft operations have a detrimental effect by way of air and noise pollution on the environment and airports should be situated so as to preserve the environment of populated areas.

That protest should be made against the proposal to establish an international airport at Richmond owing to the detrimental effect it would have for the environment there and in surrounding districts.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that this House take appropriate steps to ensure that the Government does nol proceed with the proposal to site the second, twenty four hour international airport for Sydney at Richmond or anywhere else in the far western suburbs of the metropolitan area.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

Petition received.

Education: Taxation Concessions

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of New South Wales respectfully showeth:

That educational opportunities are provided by the Education Department and are available to children living in closer settled areas and that children living in isolated areas are being denied these educational opportunities due to the following circumstances:

the great distance these children have to travel to towns and cities where these schools are situated and the fact that the maximum travelling allowance is only 67c per day.

the parents of these children can no longer pay the many hundreds of dollars each year necessary to board their children in the towns and cities where the schools are situated.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives m Parliament assembled will urgently consider granting the following, with no discrimination where children are schooled across State Borders.

$10 per school week for all children forced to live/board away from home to attend school. Annual review and no Means Test

$400 per annum for supervisor of children having schooling at home.

A taxation concessional allowance of $800 p.a. for isolated children’s parents.

Finance for establishment of Government hostels/boarding schools in remote areas.

A subsidy of $1 for $2 for running costs of hostels.

Some aid for ti) Tertiary Students (ii) Cost of maintaining 2nd home to educate children.

A 7.5c per mile per vehicle allowance foi parents of children taken to school or bus daily, weekly or monthly. Free travel warrants to school and return each term.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will eve pray.

Petition received and read.

Commonwealth Scholarships


– I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of citizens of the community of the Australian National University respectfully sheweth:

That the increase in tertiary education fees for 1972 will cause increased hardship for a significant proportion of tertiary students.

That tertiary fees and concomitant living costs are a formidable barrier preventing significant numbers of students entering tertiary education who nevertheless have the ability to do so.

That the increase in tertiary fees for 1972 is immoral, in that Universities and Colleges of Advanced Education are being further restricted to that minimal section of the Australian population who can afford to send their sons and daughters on to higher education.

That all education should be free including tertiary education.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Federal Government take immediate action lo introduce in order of priority

Universal Commonwealth Scholarships

Commonwealth Scholarships on the basis of need rather than academic ability

Abolition of tertiary fees.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will eve pray.

Petition received.



– I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia respectfully showeth:

That the Sales Tax on all forms of Contraceptive Devices is 271 per cent. (Sales Tax Exemptions and Classifications Act 1935-1967). Also that there is Customs Duty of up to 47) per cent on some Contraceptive Devices.

And that this is an unfair imposition on the human rights of all people who wish to prevent unwanted pregnancies. And furthermore that this imposition discriminates particularly against people on low incomes.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Sales Tax on all forms of Contraceptive Devices be removed, so as to bring these items into line with other necessities such as food, upon which there is no Sales Tax. Also that Customs Duty be removed, and that all Contraceptive Devices be placed on the National Health Scheme Pharmaceutical Benefits List.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

Petition received.

Aboriginal Land Rights


– I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:

That there is a crisis in Aboriginal Welfare in the South West Land Division of Western Australia resulting from a population explosion, poor housing and hygiene and unemployment and unemployability.

That there is a need to phase out Native Reserves in the South West Land Division of Western Australia over the next three years.

That town housing must be provided for all Aboriginal families where the bread winner has permanent employment or an age or invalid pension entitlement.

That such housing must be supported by the appointment of permanent ‘Home-maker assistance in the ratio of one home-maker to every eight houses or part thereof.

That incentives of housing, ‘home-maker’ services and training facilities must be created in centres of potential employment for those who are currently unemployed or unemployable.

That insufficient State or Federal assistance has been made available to meet these requirements.

That adequate finance to meet these requirements can only be provided by the Commonwealth government.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will give earnest consideration to this most vital matter.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

Petition received.

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– In the absence of the Minister for Foreign Affairs I direct a question to the Prime Minister. Has the Department of Foreign Affairs chartered a Japanese ship or some other foreign owned ship to carry Australian food and medical aid to Bangla Desh? If so, why is not this aid to be carried in an Australian ship manned by an Australian crew? Did the Australian National Line and other Australian shipping companies which tendered to carry Australian aid to Bangla Desh submit tenders above or below world charter rates? Did the Australian National Line offer to carry this aid at a freight rate no greater than the lowest foreign tender? If not, why was not this offer made?

Minister for Customs and Excise · HOTHAM, VICTORIA · LP

– I will answer (his question because the decision was mine when I was Acting Minister for Supply during the absence abroad of the Minister for Supply. The immediate figures do not come to mind, but the facts, as I understood them, were that it was foreign aid granted by this Government in conjunction with the United Nations to help the starving people in Bang! a Desh, people who were in great difficulties. I believe that anybody expending aid has a responsibility to expend that money for (he benefit of people who are suffering. When we came to look at the quotations of the various shipping lines that had tendered - I do not want to be held to this figure - we found, from memory, that the quotation of the Australian shipping line was about 2i times that of the tender which was accepted.

I felt that we had an explicit duty to make sure that that money was hypothecated in the way in which this Parliament would have intended for the maximum benefit of the people who were suffering. All I can say is that it gave me no pleasure as a Minister to grant this contract to an overseas line to the detriment of the Australian shipping line, but I think it is about time Australian unionists and the Australian Labor Party realised that the excessive wage demands-


-Order! The House will come to order. The Minister is entitled to be heard.


– The extreme demands that Australian seamen have made on the economy in recent years are killing the goose that lays their own golden eggs. They are pricing themselves and Australian shipping companies out of the market. I am appalled when I look at the conditions that have been obtained by some of these people. I do not want the figures I am about to cite to be quoted as accurate, but I think people should realise that seamen, as I understand it, work a 32-week year, receive payment slightly in excess or nearly in excess of that received by a member of Parliament and are forcing conditions on Australian shipping companies which are far in excess of what is reasonable. They cannot have it both ways. 1 conclude by saying that it gave me no pleasure to follow that course, but I believe that sensible people would realise thai when a contract is negotiated for the benefit of people who are starving, the benefit should go to those people, and not to a union or those members of a union who have made excessive demands on the economy.

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Mr Donald Cameron:

– Is the Minister for Customs and Excise aware that when tanned kangaroo pelts are exported to the United States of America that country applies a 17 per cent import duty and allows a duty free entry only if the pelts are in the pickled raw state? Does the Minister agree that this could be to the detriment of Australian tanneries? Can the Minister advise the industry what the United States is protecting by the imposition of that duty? Will the Minister consider the recommendation that only processed pelts will in future be exported, thus ensuring tremendous benefits and increasing the monetary value of this sought after, purely Australian product?


– The honourable member is asking for a statement of government policy and to that extent I cannot answer him. However, I can supply some information that the honourable gentleman is seeking concerning the policy of the United States Government in respect of kangaroo skins. It is normal practice for most countries to apply lower rates of duty to raw materials as distinct from finished products. Australia follows that course. For example, we allow raw fur skins to be imported free of duty but tanned skins are subject to the general rate of 27) per cent. However, fortuitously information has been received this morning, which I have not confirmed, that indicates that kangaroo skins, whatever their condition, may be imported into the United States free of duty.

I can say also that there is an inbuilt protection for the Australian tanning industry in that when kangaroo skins are exported for processing overseas and come back to Australia for sale a duty is levied on the value of the work put into those skins overseas. If the local industry believes that the protection it is receiving is not enough or that it is being damaged, it can take the usual forms of action through the Minister for Trade and Industry for additional tariff protection.

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– I ask the Prime Minister: Is it correct that countries like the United States of America, West Germany, the United Kingdom, France and others who give aid to distressed countries have painted on the sides of their ships in large lettering, for example, ‘United States of America Relief Ship’? Does he consider that Australian aid carried by a Japanese ship with a Japanese crew and flying the Japanese flag will be interpreted as Japanese aid by those who witness the arrival of the ship and the discharge of the cargo in Bangla Desh? Is Australia’s image in Bangla Desh not more important than the money saved in freight in such an operation?

Prime Minister · LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– It has been made clear by my colleague, the Minister for Customs and Excise, that our actions are directed by humanitarian motives. We believe that when there are 9 million people destitute, without homes, not knowing where they will get their next meal and with literally thousands dying and others without much prospect for the future, we should do everything we can to see mat the money we appropriate is spent for their benefit. Consequently I do not agree with the implication in the question, namely that we should be thinking of the Seamen’s Union and seeing that its members get a lush passage to Bangla Desh and return. On the contrary, we will continue our policy. As to Bangla Desh itself, I do not think any country, with the exception of India, is as well regarded by the authorities of Bangla Desh as Australia is. I hope that my colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, will shortly be able to go there and that we will play our part in ensuring that Bangla Desh becomes a member of the Commonwealth. In other words, we believe that the ideals of Sheik Mujibur Rahman are much the same as those held by honourable members on this side of the House. He is a liberal and does not believe in dictatorship, as do so many honourable members on the other side of the House.

Mr Hansen:

– What about the flag?


– I have no doubt at all that so far as the flying of the flag is concerned, the Bangla Desh authorities will recognise our action for what it is - an attempt to help them - and I do not think they would care if our aid was carried in submarines provided they got the help. We will let them know who are the donors. They know we give aid freely and that we do it in a humanitarian way. As I have said, and as I will continue to repeat, they regard us as one of the nations that has helped more than any other country, with the possible exception of India.

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– I ask the Prime Minister whether he has shown to you, Mr Speaker, the letter to the managing director of Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd which was the subject of so much discussion yesterday afternoon.


-The answer is yes.


– I was asking the Prime Minister.


– I am sorry; I thought you were asking me.


– I did give an assurance to the House that I would show to you, Mr Speaker, the fetter that I had written to Sir Ian McLennan relating to the matter that was debated in the House yesterday. I have done so. I would also like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that the managing director of Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd had made a public statement that appeared in yesterday’s Press that he knew of the letter that I had written to Sir Ian and in effect he verified that what I stated in the House was correct. I did not see this statement in time to be able to relate it to the House yesterday.

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– I ask a supplementary question of you, Mr Speaker. Apparently the Prime Minister in showing you the letter left it to you to determine whether the letter could be tabled in accordance with standing order 321. I ask you whether you have decided that it is now proper to table the letter.


-The Prime Minister did show me the letter yesterday afternoon. I did not think it was encumbent upon me to say whether the letter was to be tabled. I think it would be completely improper for the Speaker to interfere in political arguments within the House. The point I make is that the House reached a decision yesterday on the ruling that I gave regarding the Prime Minister’s statements about the letter.

Mr Barnard:

– I rise to order. Yesterday you ruled that the letter was private and confidential and, therefore, could not be tabled in this House. The point I want to make, if I may proceed to it, is that it was indicated to me yesterday, Mr Speaker, that you would have the opportunity to read this letter. It. was the view of members on this side of the House that you would read the letter and then come to a decision as to whether that letter was in fact private and confidential. Mr Speaker, we would expect you to make a decision as to whether or not the letter should be tabled.


-I do not believe that that is incumbent upon me.

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– Can the Minister for Primary Industry advise what amount of the rural reconstruction fund has been approved to date by the Rural Reconstruction Board in Queensland? Is there any likelihood that applications approved by the Rural Reconstruction Board in Queensland may have to wait until next financial year for the amount approved by the Rural Reconstruction Board to be paid? As time is vitally important for applicants for rural reconstruction, is any purpose served by not allowing the full amount - namely, $16m in the case of Queensland - to be allocated as claims are processed by the Rural Reconstruction Board in that State?

Minister for Primary Industry · NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– I understand that to date something like $1 1.89m of the rural reconstruction funds allocated in Queensland have been approved by the rural reconstruction authority in that State. In fact $llm was allocated within the arrangement negotiated back in August last year within the $40m of the SI 00m available over the 4-year programme. The purpose of the rural reconstruction scheme was to supplement all available avenues of assistance. Initially it was thought that the scheme should be available over a 4-year period. Instead of that, the Commonwealth Government recognised the quite critical position existing in so many rural areas of Australia and provided a very considerable portion of the $100m in this year, to wit, $40m. As a result, in some States there could well be the necessity for some of those applicants whose applications have been approved to wait until the next financial year before funds can be made available.

It is true that over 4 years Queensland was to be entitled to Si 6m. As I have mentioned, under the arrangements negotiated in August - 1 might add that the breakdown between the States was negotiated between the States themselves and not determined by the Commonwealth - $llm of that $16m was provided in this first year. As there are obviously difficulties at a time of rural recession in determining the best way in which rural reconstruction can offer assistance, an agreement has been made between the Commonwealth and the States that a review of the function of the scheme should be instituted as early as possible this year. A meeting has been set down to be held in about a fortnight between the State Ministers and the Commonwealth Minister to examine the whole operation of the scheme within the first 12 months.

The preliminary figures that have been drawn up by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics show quite a marked disparity in the provision of funds and the operation of the scheme in each of the different States. Nevertheless, I would assure the House that the Government is sympathetic to the problem of financing primary producers, but it sees the rural reconstruction scheme not as the only source of rural finance but as a supplementary source intended to provide additional funds at a time when normal sources of rural credit have tended to dry up. Accordingly, while we look sympathetically at the State problems we will be nonetheless adopting an approach which will ensure that rural reconstruction credit is only part of the total credit that should be available to the rural sector.

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– 1 direct my question to the Prime Minister, in the absence of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. When the United States of America and other recognised affluent countries grant aid for relief to a country in distress do they call on the United Nations Relief Fund to pay for the transport of their aid to that country? Why has this Government resorted to calling on the United Nations Relief Fund to pay the freight on the Australian aid to Bangla Desh when it is continually claiming that Australia is one of the most affluent countries in the world, and particularly having in mind that Australian ships are laid up for want of cargo and Australian crews are on unemployment relief?


– I regret that my colleague is not here. He is attending the South Pacific forum. But I think the question answers itself. We want to provide the maximum aid we can in terms of direct assistance to the refugees and those people who are unable to look after themselves, either inside or outside Bangla Desh, and that is the reason-

Dr Gun:

– You are deducting the shipping costs from the aid.


– Do be a good boy and be patient. That is why. as I explained before, all our efforts will be directed towards helping those people in need, and where we can save funds on transport we will exercise our influence there to the maximum of our capacity.

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– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for National Development in his capacity as Leader of the House, concerns the report of the Commonwealth Administrative Review Committee headed by Mr Justice Kerr. In view of the crucial significance of this subject to the future rights and liberties of all Australians will the Minister try to arrange that the report, now No. 36 on the notice paper, is brought forward for early debate?

Minister for National Development · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP

– I agree with the honourable member that this is a most important matter that affects the rights of the people of Australia. This report was tabled by the Prime Minister last October. He made a statement on it at the time, stressing the importance of it and indicating that the matter would be studied by the Government and that certain other matters relating to it would be studied by the AttorneyGeneral. The Leader of the Opposition also made a statement by leave at that time on the same subject. This is a very important matter and as the Prime Minister indicated at that time the Government had not had the opportunity of studying the report at all but the ,’rime Minister thought it essential to hive it tabled as quickly as possible after it had been received by the Government. Since then there have been continuing s tidies in relation to not only the report bit also a number of related matters, principally by the AttorneyGeneral, anr at this point of time the studies have not been completed. But I can assure tie House that as soon as the studies have been completed and the matter has been considered by the Government everything possible will be done to expedite a debate on it.

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I ask the Prime Minister a question. When does the right honourable gentleman expect to be able to announce the full membership and itinerary ot the projected trade mission to the Peoples’ Republic of China? He will remember that when I asked the Minister for Trade and Industry the same question over 4 months ago he made an interjection about ministerial emissaries. 1 therefore also ask him if he can or will now identify the emissaries.


– I am glad that the honourable gentleman has given me an opportunity to answer this question, lt is true that we received from people who did not have what could be regarded as foreign relations status a suggestion that we should get together a large group oi individuals representing Australian industry. I suggested that some academics and people at universities might also be members of the team.

Mr Cope:

– What about Bill Wentworth?


– Yes, he would have been a very good bloke; he would have known what they were doing. At no stage did we receive any official representations from the Government of the People’s Republic of China. We were fiddled around for some considerable time until, knowing - I believe - that we had been one of the chief advocates for the People’s Republic of China becoming a member of the General Assembly and also-

Opposition Members - Oh!


-Order! The House will come to order.


– These are the facts. Again, if they do not want to hear the answer to be given to their own Leader and if they want him to be isolated that is their business, and I will sit down if they cannot behave themselves.


-Order! J suggest the House come to order. I asked the House yesterday and on Tuesday to bear in mind that question time is a time when honourable members are entitled to ask questions based on fact and to receive information in reply to those questions. I believe that if the Parliament does not learn to control itself a little belter al question time it will be deserving of all the criticism that it undoubtedly will get from outside this House.


– There were very nieo overtures to us. We were treated in various parts of the world as favoured people until the moment when the vote came in the United Nations and from then we were peremptorily dismissed. Since then very little official has occurred from the People’s Republic. Nonetheless we still wish to maintain a dialogue or to proceed on the basis of a dialogue with the People’s Republic. As to the second part ot the honourable gentleman’s question - and I believe he would know more about this than I would because he is in contact with people directly concerned with the People’s Republic Government - only one representation was made to me about sending a Minister. It did not come from the Government of the People’s Republic, nor did it come from anyone with an official status in the Chinese Government. But I can state that initially they thought it would be wise, providing the Minister gave up his portfolio, that he should be invited with his wife to go on what shall be called not so much a goodwill mission but a mission on which he could enjoy himself and enjoy the comforts and delights of Peking. But he had to give up his portfolio. That, I now state, is my colleague, the former Minister for the Army. Immediately we asked the reason why. They said that in the China of that time the army had a pervasive influence throughout the whole of China. That was the reason given, again I say, from a non-official source. But I can disclose the fact to the honourable gentleman. When it was pointed out that it would require a ministerial resignation from the portfolio and that we had troops in Vietnam this non-official source promptly dropped the idea and never raised it again. I believe that the honourable gentleman would know these facts. Although he has a simple look of innocence on his face at this moment nonetheless he would know the facts. I now confirm them for his benefit.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Education and Science and is prompted by the recent discussion on the methods of the distribution of state aid for independent schools. Can the Minister assist the House by giving an indication of what precisely are these competing systems or methods for the distribution of state aid to independent schools? Which is the system which most benefits the independent school system and which most expeditiously distributes the money that is available to independent schools? Mr MALCOLM FRASER- All States but one and the Commonwealth have selected a method of straight per capita payments in support of independent schools, dependent upon the number of children in those schools. For example, New South Wales provides $50 a head for primary schools and $59 a head for secondary schools. The Queensland figures are $45 and $81. In Western Australia, where there is now a Labor Government, the figures are $30 and $40. In South Australia the per capita part of the payment to independent schools which was instituted by a previous South Australian government is $10 for primary schools and $20 for secondary schools. In addition to that basic allocation which goes to all schools in South Australia there is a small sum which is distributed to primary schools on a needs allocation basis. I do not believe that the needs allocation provides an objective basis of distribution, but the schools which the committee in South Australia claims to be the most needy get an additional $24 a head if they are category A schools. There are 22 such schools only in the whole of the South Australian independent primary school system. If we add that $24 a head for these very few allegedly most needy schools in South Australia, the maximum per capia payment for primary schools is $34 a head For example, in the category D schools t falls to an additional $10 a head, which is very much less. The maximum of §34 a lead for only 22 private schools in South Autralia needs to be compared with $40 in Victoria, $50 in New South Wales and $4! in Queensland. That, of course, brings m< to a passing reference to a claim that was made in this Parliament a short while am when the Leader of the Opposition–

Mr Uren:

Mr Speaker, I rise a point of order. This is the time foi the asking of questions without notice bit obviously this is a question on notice. This Minister abuses question time. If he wants to make a statement we will facilitate Vis doing so after question time.


-I have rules on this matter several times. Providing an answer is relevant to the question that is asked, the Chair has no discretion concerning its length. I have appealed on many occasions to honourable members asking questions and to Ministers answering them to shorten’ the questions and answers. I suggest that the Minister is quite in . order in referring to notes that he may have with him in anticipation of a question being asked. This always has been the attitude of the Chair and all honourable members should by now appreciate this fact. There is no point of order but I would suggest that the Minister make his answer as short as possible and relevant to the question.

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

- Mr Speaker, I certainly shall.

Mr Whitlam:

Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. You must send even the biggest boys back to their seats on occasions.


– You are big yourself, you know.

Mr Whitlam:

– And I always heed you, Sir. You know, Sir, from your experience my experience and the whole House’s experience of this Minister that he is not likely to let an opportunity pass in answering a question to volunteer references to me or to one of my colleagues, even though the references are not sought by the questioner and, in fact, would be out of order if they were. We know well enough from our experience that in these circumstances relationships in the House are stirred and there may have to be personal explanations afterwards. Might I suggest that you sa? to this Minister that if he wants to mate statements calling in question matters of policy differences or wants to make references to honourable members he should do so by way of a ministerial statement which would enable such matters to be debated properly. Sir, it is quite provocative and it takes up the time of the House if this Minister, who I think is the worst offender in this regard, always-


-Order! The Leader of the Opposition has the indulgence of the Chair. There is no point of order and I would suggest that he does not-

Mr Whitlam:

Sir, is not this an appropriate opportunity, since you have been told that there will be a passing reference to the Leader of the Opposition, to urge the Minister to adopt the procedures of the House whereby at least there can be an orderly answer to this reference?

Mr Malcolm Fraser:




-Order) The Minister will resume his seat. As I have said on other occasions, I agree with the Leader of the Opposition on this matter and as honourable members know 1 have requested Ministers, if the answer to a question would be long, to follow the correct procedure and ask for leave to make a statement. I have said also that the Opposition has agreed that in no instance will it refuse leave to enable the making of a statement. The Ministers are well aware of this. I know that the Minister for Education and Science is aware of this. If in an answer a reference to any person on the opposite side is not relevant to the question, ] will ask the Minister to resume his seat.

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– The reference I wish to make is entirely relevant and. indeed. I believe it has sponsored the question. Yesterday the Leader of the Opposition said that the fact was, since i had mentioned the matter, that in South Australia the needier schools receive more per pupil from the State Government than any school receives per pupil from any other State Government. That state ment is not correct. That is why, as I understand it, the honourable member asked me the question. It was to clarify how much money is provided by other States to independent school systems. I believe that the Opposition takes these points of order on a number of occasions quite deliberately to prevent this kind of exposure of misstatements of fact by the Leader of tha Opposition. The only other point I want to make is that the needs basis of allocation as adopted by the South Australian Government and defended by the Leader of the Opposition is patently a device to see that the minimum support gets to independent schools. The 22 schools in South Australia that receive the most under the needs formula still receive less than all the schools get from 3 other States of the Commonwealth.

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– I ask the Prime Minister whether he is aware that the Minister for Social Services on I 10th February said that inactivity enforced by the means test could be a major cause of premature death among retired Australians. Does he regard this statement as a rebuke to the Government for perpetuating the means test and to Cabinet for delaying consideration of the Minister’s national superannuation scheme? What action does he intend to take in the light of the Minister’s fears?


– The answer is no. Whenever the Minister for Social Services speaks on matters relating to his portfolio I believe that he speaks from the heart rather than from the mind. He is a very diligent and hard working Minister. I believe that he has well in his heart the interests of all people who benefit from social services and those who are potential beneficiaries. He presents a case for them as effectively as I have known since I have been in the Cabinet.

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– I direct a question to the Postmaster-General. It refers to his statement of 9th December last with reference to progress with the seventh stage of television development and his most recent statement concerning the introduction of colour television. Can he give a firm assurance that bis announced intention to introduce colour television will in no way prejudice the scheduled completion date of stage 7, with particular reference to the target dates of March 1974 for Moora and Carnamah and May 1974 for Mingenew and Three Springs?

Postmaster-General · PETRIE, QUEENSLAND · LP

– When I made my statement at the end of last year giving a programme for the completion of stage 7 of television it was certainly the intention of the Government that that should be completed within the time that I mentioned in my statement. I think it must be appreciated that when we are dependent upon supplies of electronic equipment, particularly from overseas, a written guarantee cannot be given that this equipment will be supplied on the stated dates. Consequently, I cannot give a written guarantee that the dates that I gave will, in fact, be the dates of commencement of those additional 33 stations.

I checked and rechecked with my Department before the statement was made and I am assured that without unforeseen circumstances arising those dates will be adhered to. I remind the House that the completion of the 7th stage will give 98 per cent of the Australian public the opportunity to view television. I give the House and the community the assurance that the completion of the 7th stage, or even further advancement in terms of extension of national services to the people of this country, will not be interfered with by the introduction of colour television on 1st March 1975.

page 212




– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service a question. Since tomorrow is the 3rd anniversary of the Commonwealth Industrial Court’s epoch making judgment in Moore and Doyle, I ask why no Bill has been introduced or no ministerial statements have been made on the Court’s recommendation for urgent action - the word ‘urgent’ is the Court’s word of 3 years ago - to establish a system of trade, union organisations which would enable the one body to represent its relevant members in both the Federal and State arbitration system.

Minister for Labour and National Service · FLINDERS, VICTORIA · LP

– The Leader of the Opposition seems to be completely ignorant of the fact that the case of Moore versus Doyle -

Dr J F Cairns:

– ‘Unaware is the better word.


– I said ‘ignorant’ of the fact. He seemed ignorant of the fact that the case of Moore versus Doyle was covered by me in the statement I made in this House during the mid part «f December and in which I referred to tfe very complex problems which are involved in that case. As the honourable gentleman should be well aware, the Government has intentions in relation to that case. Those intentions were foreshadowed in thu statement. As the honourable gentleman should also be aware, this matter has been the subject of very detailed consultations with all of the principal parties, both on i Commonwealth and State level and aa employer and employee level. If the honourable gentleman wants more information I suggest he should speak to the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Housing. Will the Minister inform the House whether the new Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement passed by this Parliament last year has been accepted by all the States and whether there is general satisfaction with its operation?

Mr Kevin Cairns:

– The Bill which was passed in this House during the last sessional period has been accepted by all the States. And so it should be accepted by all the States because its very, very great benefits have now become obvious. The very unhappy fact is that the Bill was passed in this House against the very stringent and determined opposition of the Australian Labor Party. The benefits which have clearly flowed from that Bill have come against the opposition of the Australian Labor Party. I do not suggest that the Bill was opposed with any malevolence. I suggest it was opposed only out of ignorance.

I think it is appropriate for me to review very quickly the operation of the Act in the last 3 to 4 months. One result has been the greatest decline in interest rates charged for welfare housing ever sustained or experienced in this country. There has been in fact a decline in interest rates, not associated with the decline in bond rates but substantially determined before there was a decline in bond rates, of between 0.25 par cent and 1.7 per cent. Those calculations are made of various types of housing by the different States. Therefore, in general there is a range of interest rates now chargeable on Stab welfare housing and to the home builders account to the co-operative terminating societies of the order of 5 per cent to 5S per cent and 51 per cent. Very substantial benefits have flowed to those people who need housing assistance. 1 repeat thai it is rather sad that due not to malevolence but to ignorance the Bill had to be passed in this House and in the Senate against the opposition of the Australian Labor Party.

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The Prime Minister - Shipping Services to Tasmania - Lake Pedder - Australian Servicemen: Confirmation - Australian Capital Territory: Citizens’ Advice Bureau - Rural Reconstruction - War Service Homes - Bangla Desh

Question proposed:

That grievances be noted.


– The Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) is not fit to be the head of an Australian Government. He should resign. He has misled the Parliament and deceived the people. His reputation for truthfulness is at an all time low. Few people in this House or outside-


– Order! The honourable member is making imputations regarding the integrity and honesty of a member.


– Well, I am verifying them with facts, too.


-Order! From what I could gather from the first 3 sentences of his speech i suggest that he should moderate his language.


– I will withdraw that word.


– Listen to me for a moment. Although not quite unparliamentary, I think that some of the phrases are a little undesirable in the Parliament. I suggest that the honourable member take heed of that.


– Just in sell-defence Mr Speaker, much of his behaviour was undesirable last year. His reputation for veracity-

Mr Chipp:

– On a point of order, Mr Speaker, I certainly do not want to canvass your ruling, but I wonder whether you heard precisely the words used by the honourable member for Bendigo. He said that the reputation for truthfulness of the of the Prime Minister is at an all time low. That, I submit, is clearly unparliamentary and is offensive to honourable members on this side of the House. I ask that he should withdraw it.


-The Minister has asked that those words be withdrawn.


– I withdraw the words that I used, and I will try to use more restrained language. Few people inside this House or outside it have any faith in what the Prime Minister says. He has destroyed trust in his high office and confidence in his Government.

The Prime Minister misled Parliament on 9th September last year when he claimed that he had sent a formal letter of protest to the Prime Minister of South Africa. He has now condemned this dishonesty with his own words by admitting in a letter sent to me in January that he had not sent such a latter. This deception is therefore now public knowledge. However, as I shall indicate later, the evidence also points clearly to the fact that on 6th April last year he also misled Parliament, when he stated that he had already taken action by communicating the Australian people’s feelings on the racial selection of a sporting team to the South African Government. The evidence points clearly to the fact that no such action had been taken at that stage.

However, before coming to this last matter, I challenge the Prime Minister to justify his actions last year. Incidentally, I advise the House that I warned the Prime Minister that I was going to speak on this matter. I challenge him to table all records and documentation associated with his claim that he had sent a letter or communication of whatever kind to the South African Government.

On 6th April last year the Prime Minister claimed that he had already communicated to the South African Government the

Australian people’s feelings on the racial bias in the selection of sporting teams. On 5th July, an AUP Press report from Perth showed that he had by this time specified the communication as a letter which he had sent to Vorster. If this was an error, then his officials would have pointed it out immediately and he should have corrected it publicly. He did not. On 18th August in a question on notice, I asked what was the nature of the communication that he had claimed earlier to have sent. Despite this warning, on 9th September he replied to a question - obviously he was forewarned of the question - by the honourable member for Chisholm (Mr Staley) that he had sent a letter to the Prime Minister of South Africa. He was absolutely determined to convince Parliament that it was a letter from one head of state to another, because he referred to a letter 4 times.

In all this time, the Prime Minis’ er was misleading Parliament and deceiving the public. He had ample opportunity to rectify his error, but did not. Finally, on 15th January, he sent a reply to my question, admitting that he had sent no such letter at all. He claimed he had referred inadvertently to the communication as a letter. Instead, the communication was made not by him, but at his request, and not to Mr Vorster but to the South African Ambassador. The dishonesty and cheapness of the Prime Minister’s behaviour is amazing. I want to know: Why did he say a letter had been sent, if it had not been sent? Why did he not immediately correct the false statement as soon as Parliament met on the next day? He cannot claim that he was not aware of the falseness of his statement as it is standard practice for his advisers and officers to point out such errors, if this was an error. Equally unconvincing is his claim that criticism of his behaviour is merely playing with words, as he said on 19th February when trying to justify his action.

This is a synthetic and hollow excuse. The Prime Minister prides himself on his expertise in foreign affairs and diplomacy as a former Foreign Minister. It is absurd to believe that he does not know the difference between a letter from one head of state to another and a mere handing over of a note or some other expression from one official to another. Likewise, it is stretching credulity to breaking point to expect Parliament to believe that a Prime Minister could actually forget sending a letter to another head of state. Indeed, his answer to my question on notice indicates that the exchange of- letters between heads of s ate are naturally rare. Therefore, it is unbelievable that he was merely mistaken in claiming t» Parliament that he had sent such a letter. Nobody will swallow tha”. He was deliberately misleading the House and would have got away with it if it had not been brought out through a question.

The Parliament also has a right to know who passed on the expression Df views to the South African Embassy. What were his name and rank, and what were the name and rank of the South African official involved? How and where was the communication passed on? Was it by telephone, word of mouth, at the South African Embassy, here in Parliament House, at the office of the Department of Foreign Affairs, or at a cock* ail party? Who knows? Furthermore, the Parliament should be given full details of what was in the communication. Clearly, from the Prime Minister’s written answer to me it did not contain the powerfully worded expression of his own personal hostility to apartheid that he claimed on 9th September to have expressed to Mr Vorster. If it expressed anything at all, . it obviously expressed only the regret and disappointment of the Australian people. This was tantamount to saying to Mr Vorster: This is how the Australian people feel. We as a Government will go along with it in public because politics demand that we do so, but we are not really disturbed at your racial policies, and we will not criticise you’. Therefore I challenge the Prime Minister to table all the records and documentation associated with this communication, so that Parliament can know precisely what was said on Australia’s and the Government’s behalf.

I digress from the essential question of the Prime Minister’s honesty only to comment on his hypocrisy in saying one thing and doing another. This was the very reason why opponents of apartheid last year were utterly unconvinced by his claim that the best and only way to protest against apartheid was through the responsible and formal official channels that he was using. In fact, he did no such thing. He has therefore completely vindicated the opponents of the sporting visits last year, because they and not he accepted be responsibility of expressing Australia’s protest.

I would als> comment on his mischievousness and viciousness last year in deliberately and cynical)/ working up public feeling against the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), hh Hawke, the Labor Party, the unions, students and the many others who were opposing the visits on the grounds of opposition to apartheid, when he was himself using the same claim but doing nothing about it. I would also add that once again he has revealed his and his Government’s sympathy for toadying to and collusion with the racism of South Africa. Such is the taint of his sympathy for Mr Vorster’s racism that he dared not and would not criticise it at the highest level available to him here, that is. in a letter from one head of state to another. It would not surprise me if he originally had decided to send a letter of protest, but was put off after a friendly little chat with the South African Embassy. Certainly however, he even stooped to asking the South African Embassy officials here whether they would be upset if he sent a second - or rather a first-letter of protest. They said they would, so he did not.

This reaction by the Embassy indicates in itself how seriously such a letter would have been taken by the Vorster regime if it had been sen! in the first place. Likewise, the resort of the Prime Minister to the Embassy for counselling and advice on what he should do with regard to Vorster’s racism illustrates all too clearly that the foreign policy of Australia on this vital ma’ter was decided not by the Australian Government but by the representative of the Vorster regime in Canberra. I would also state that the revelations of his activities in this regard add further damage to our relations with Africa and Asian neighbours in our region.

But to return to the question of his honesty, he not only misled the Parliament and people by his statement in the House on 9th September that he had sent a letter to Mr Vorster; the evidence also points clearly to the fact that he misled the House on 6th April. At that time, he replied to a question by the Leader of the Opposition that he had already taken action by communicating the people’s feelings to the Vorster Government. I do not believe that he had. My question on notice of 18th August 1971 asked him on what date this communication was sent. The Prime Minister did not answer that question. I have no reason to believe that he had taken any such action at that time and every reason to believe, on the basis of the record, that he reacted with a story concocted on the spot while replying to the Leader of the Opposition. However, he can prove or disprove this by tabling the record.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– Somebody is saying that the Prime Minister is a liar.


-The honourable member for Hindmarsh knows full well that he is avoiding contravention of the Standing Orders, but the implication is there. 1 suggest that action such as this is not fitting in the Parliament.

Minister for National Development · Darling Downs · LP

– I must apologise first of all for intervening. It is not normal for a Minister to speak during the grievance debate but I want io take a few minutes to refer to a couple of matters that have been raised. I know that the honourable member for Bendigo (Mr Kennedy) has been concerned about this and has expressed his concern in a certain way this morning. I should place on record some of the facts in relation to this matter. I am pleased that the honourable member withdrew his earlier comments about the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon). Such comments do not contribute to the dignity of the House and, secondly, of course they were not correct. His withdrawal has adjusted that matter. I would like to place on record the fact that the communication that was made to the South African Government in April last year was exactly as described by the Prime Minister in the House on 6th April in response to a question asked by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) at that time. It can be checked in Hansard where it will be seen that the Prime Minister referred at that time to a communication which at that stage was described as a message to the South African Government conveyed through the Ambassador here. I should make it quite clear that this is the normal means of communication. When a message is sent to another government, as the Leader of the Opposition will know, it is done in the usual way through the ambassador here. It is a fact, and the Prime Minister corrected himself publicly later on and also in the Parliament-

Mr Cope:

– Why can the Prime Minister noi-


– In spite of my warning this morning, the honourable member for Sydney is still interjecting. I would be reluctant to take action against him but if he continues to interject he will leave me with no option.

Mr Cope:

– I rise to order. I think you will agree that Sir Robert Menzies, Mr Harold Holt and even Mr Gorton would have answered for themselves without get ing somebody else to do it.


-Order! There is no point of ord.:r.


– The Prime Minister has made this matter quite clear. In fact, in reply to a question on notice asked by the honourable member for Bendigo, he indicated that he inadvertently used the word ‘letter’ instead of ‘communication’.

Dr J F Cairns:

– About 4 times.


– Yes. He used it during a television interview and also on another occasion. He was fully aware that a message had been sent but the term ‘letter* instead of ‘communication’ was used. This was subsequently corrected in a written reply to the honourable member for Bendigo after the error had been drawn to attention.

Mr Whitlam:

– And after the House had risen.


– That was after the House had risen. It was drawn to the Prime Minister’s attention at that time. At no point of lime was there any inaccuracy in the substance of the statements which had been made to the House dealing with the Government’s attitude at that time to the refusal of the South African Government to allow non-white players to participate in the projected visit to Australia and the statement that the views of the Government had been conveyed to the South African Government. I merely wanted to place on record that the statements that had been made were completely accurate in relation to the substance of the matter. The Prime Minister did indicate that the term ‘letter’ had been used instead of the term ‘communication’ at that time. But the substance was completely correct.

Mr Foster:

– I rise to order. In view of the contributions that were made in this House a few moments ago, in veiw of the fact that questions were placed upon notice, in view of the statements by the Prime Minister in this House during the course of question time and in view of the fact that the Chair considers that there could be no parliamentary phrase acceptable to describe direct misrepresentation, will you please advise what avenues are open, in a parliamentary sense, to honourable members to describe such untruths when lies are told in this chamber?


Order! There is no point of order.

Mr Foster:

– There ought to be one.


-I suggest that the honourable member for Sturt study the Standing Orders before he raises points of order.


– I want to raise a matter within the purview of the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon), lt is a matter which I understand has been the subject of representations from Tasmanian shipping authorities and Government senators from Tasmania. There is a strong possibility that it will also be brought to the Minister’s attention by the State Government of Tasmania. What I want to put before the House is the action of the Australian National Line in rescheduling shipping services to the ports of northern Tasmania. I do not want to be unduly critical of the Line; undoubtedly it has serious problems. Undoubtedly, also, it has given most valuable service to Australia and it has an excellent record of innovation in shipping services.

In recent years it has become increasingly vulnerable to criticism from Tasmania, the only .State which is completely dependent on shipping transport. Formerly, the Line maintained excellent relations with Tasmania; it carried the lion’s share of the Tasmanian shipping trade, and in turn it found the Tasmanian trade an extremely profitable one. In recent years the relations of the ANL wilh Tasmania have become increasingly strained: Higher shipping freight rates have been one cause of this tension; other causes have been inexplicable decisions by the Line and what can only be summarised as bad timing and bad public relations. On these counts the ANL rivals Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd. The basic reason for changes in schedules to the north of Tasmania is the withdrawal of the ‘Princess of Tasmania from service. This means the Empress o: Australia’ will replace the Princess of Tasmania’ on the MelbourneDevonport :un. The ‘Empress’ which had been making one call a week at Bell Bay to and from Sydney has now been withdrawn for refitting. This has brought an extensive reshuffle of passenger and cargo services to Bell Bay.

The first unfortunate result of this reshuffle has been chaos in forward bookings for ANL passenger services. It is difficult to assess the full extent of this disruption; undoubtedly it will have an undesirable impact on tourist traffic to Tasmania which will affect the whole State. The port of Launceston will lose a substantial part of its passenger trade to Devonport with the cut in passenger traffic from 3 to 2 vessels. In turn this will probably bring a reduced capacity to ferry passengers to and from Tasmania. The Senate Standing Committee on Primary and Secondary Industry and Trade report on ANL services showed that the number of passengers and cars carried by the line to Tasmania had doubled in the 10 years to 1969-70. With a growing market for tourism within Australia, it is a pity that the potential of passenger shipping to Tasmania should be limited in this way. As the Senate Committee pointed out. the ANL had a special role as the carrier of a large number of tourists who helped to maintain one of Tasmania’s most important industries. The net loss of berths in a year has been estimated at more than 15,000 - a heavy toll on the State’s potential tourism.

For the port of Launceston the impact of the revised schedules goes beyond the loss of passenger services. It means also that cargo services will be cut, although it is impossible to get an accurate estimate of the extent and nature of the cuts. According to Bell Bay port authorities the cargo services into the port of Launceston would be cut by two-thirds. It would bring the monthly tonnage down from around 18,800 tons to just over 6,000 tons. This is the considered opinion of the people who run the port and have a detailed knowledge of vessels on the run and their capacity. Their estimates have been disputed by the ANL and by the Tasmanian Premier, Mr Bethune. These refutations have been far from convincing.

Although the cut of two-thirds has been denied, it has not been possible for the ANL or for Mr Bethune to give any estimate of what capacity will be under the new schedules. Quite plainly, they just do not know what the impact of the new schedules will be in terms of actual tonnages. Mr Bethune has pinned his faith in undertakings given by the ANL and the Government in December. According to t’hese assurances freight services to Tasmania were to be maintained and improved. Mr Bethune has expressed confidence that the undertakings will be honoured. I do not doubt the Premier’s sincerity in this mat;er, but in the absence of an effective and convincing delineation of tonnages for the revised services there must be serious doubts about the future of cargo services to the port of Launceston.

It has been stated that the new schedules were tentative and that adjustments would be made if services proved inadequate. The ANL says also that it will adjust its services to demand. Presumably it will divert ships to Bell Bay if the volume of cargo warrants it. This may be all right in theory but it destroys the assurance of regular services which are necessary for the effective movement of cargo to and from Bell Bay. Regular services are particularly important for the growth of freight forwarding operations moving cargo from door to door. This sort of development was advocated by the Senate Committee and also by the Pak Poy report on Tasmanian transport. Lack of regular services and uncertainty about schedules strikes at the basic concept of this sort of transport operation.

Another grave defect of the new schedules is that they run counter to the trend of port development. According to the Pak Poy report the predicted growth rate for Bell Bay was faster than for any of the other Tasmanian ports. The report found that Bell Bay was the cheapest of alternative central port systems, based on shipping, port development and land transport costs. Even if the central port concept is discounted and the present 4-port structure retained, surely it is illogical to cut services to the fastest growing port and the most viable in economic terms. There is the further point that considerable capital investment is being made in a link from Bell Bay to the State railway system. The Commonwealth is putting a considerable sum of money into this Bell Bay link. It is absurd that the need for the link should be acknowledged and resources diverted for it and that the ANL should be allowed to readjust its services in a way which would negate the principle of the railway. For many years there has been a thriving port and no railway. It would be futile to build a railway and let the port run down.

In summary, the ANL says it will adjust services to the volume of cargo to be carried. The Bell Bay port authorities maintain that the volume of cargo depends on the certainty of regular services. The ANL seems intent on waiting until sufficient cargo builds up at Bell Bay before diverting shipping for it. The port says that the volume of cargo will not build up unless shippers know that regular services are operating. Surely these conflicting claims should not be put to the lest of practice before determining who is right and who is wrong. There is much that needs to be clarified. The ANL assessments may be correct but this is to be proved. Until a more convincing and detailed case is put by the company, it is difficult not to accept the claims of the port authorities that the new schedules would have a ruinous effect on Bell Bay.

This morning I have taken the opportunity in this House to enlarge upon this subject because there is considerable concern, particularly in the northern part of Tasmania, at the attitude and actions of the ANL. I made it quite clear at the commencement of my remarks that I offered no criticism of the ANL in this respect. I believe it has endeavoured to look at the situation sympathetically and, 1 suppose, with the objective of economies in view. But the fact remains that the port of Launceston, as I have already indicated to the House, contrary to the recommendations of the Pak Poy report, is to be allowed to run down. The Australian National Line has a responsibility and an obligation to the Tasmanian people to make iti position clear. To reduce the tonnage info one port from 18,000 to about 6,000 a month is a very drastic step to take without giving some clear explanation of the reasons for it. I appreciate from my correspondence with the Minister for Shipping and Transport that re has reacted very quickly to the criticism. I hope that the Minister will be able to provide for me a convincing reply in relation o the ANL’s new schedules and that the matter will be rectified as soon as possible.

Minister for Shipping and Transport · Gippsland · CP

– 1 am inclined to wonder why the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) has raised this matter today when he knows that representatives of the Australian National Line are in Launceston today discussing this very point with other authorities and with the various shippers, the people who use the freight line and who are involved in sending freight from Launceston to ports on the mainland and in receiving freight in Launceston from ports on the mainland. He said that he makes no criticism of the ANL. Again 1 wonder why he got to his feet to discuss this point, knowing that discussions are taking place, when he has no criticism to make of the ANL. I am sorry to have forced the following speaker on this side of the House to resume his seat by taking his place, but if I do not produce an answer to what the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has said his speech will be spread far and wide in the northern part of Tasmania and there will be further misunderstandings of the real situation. If there were no reply from the Minister people would assume that all the scare talk that is going on about the service is correct.

The Deputy Leader of the Opposition made one forceful point. He talked about increased freight rates that have been of some concern to Tasmanians. Of course this has been of concern to the Australian National Line itself. For that reason it undertook an examination to endeavour to rationalise its service and to provide more efficient and economic services to the shippers to and from Tasmania. As a result of the examination it has proposed some changes. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition was quite right in his explanation of the changes that are to be made. It was found that the ‘Princess of Tasmania’ was no longer economic to operate and therefore, to increase the efficiency of its Bass Strait operations, the ANL decided to reschedule their services and dispose of the Princess of Tasmania’.

The ANL’s proposals envisage the transfer of the ‘Empress’ of Australia’ to the Bass Strait service This vessel will provide accommodation for up to 440 passengers to offset the loss of the ‘Princess’. One of the claims Hat have been made by the people in th; tourist industry down there is that there will be a reduction in the capacity to carry tourists to the northern part of Tasmania and to Launceston in particular. There will still be capacity for 163,000 tourists under the rationalised service. This compares with a demand this year of 140,000. So I think that the Deputy Leader of tie Opposition will accept that a reasonable growth rate is permitted in the proposals. Also the ANL has said that it will remain flexible so far as the demand occurs and will fill the need as it comes to hand. The Australian National Line proposes to transfer the ‘Australian Trader’ to the Sydney-Hobart service. This vessel has a larger cargo capacity than the ‘Empress’, which currently operates this service.

The ANL proposes further to introduce a Searoader vessel into the Bass Strait trade. I think that we are going to get out of it a more efficient and more economic service for Tasmania with a greater chance of keeping freight rates at a lower level. I am pleased to see that I have the support of the honourable member for Braddon (Mr Davies) who is nodding his head in agreement with me. It is obviously a local political matter. I can understand the concern of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. No doubt he is right to express his concern, but at the same time he has no right, in my view, to inject fear into the shippers of Tasmania. They themselves are not frightened. There have been discussions up to this point of time between the Line and the people of Tasmania and so far there has been a proper understanding of what was to occur and there has been agreement on what was to occur. But because I saw some of the Press reaction to this I have ensured that Australian National Line representatives go down to Tasmania and explain again what this does mean to the various people concerned. I am satisfied that in the meeting that is to take place today they will get a clear understanding of Tasmania’s needs and they will be able to meet those needs. The Line has said that it wants to provide a flexible service to Tasmania and at the same time to try to keep its costs down. I believe that the

Line will succeed in this endeavour. Knowing the timing of a meeting tomorrow and one or two other things, I could not let pass this opportunity to put the facts straight to the Parliament.


– I speak this morning in regard to Lake Pedder. For months petitions have been presented to this Parliament to save Lake Pedder. Last week I sent a telegram to the Australian Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) seeking his personal intervention to stop the flooding of Lake Pedder. 1 also said in that telegram that if increased expenditure was needed to save Lake Pedder the Commonwealth should make Commonwealth grants available to the Tasmanian Government to preserve this unique natural wonderland. I make this plea. Time is short. Water has been building up behind the newly completed dam on the Serpentine River in Tasmania since the diversion tunnel for the dam was closed in December. If rainfall is normal the water will reach Lake Pedder in early or mid April. A priceless jewel in the wilderness of south west Tasmania will be drowned for ever.

The loss of Lake Pedder is a national and world tragedy. We should be preserving it in a world heritage trust. The real issue here is whether or not we will all stand by and let this happen. It need not happen and it still need not happen. The gates on the Serpentine River can be reopened to take the pressure off Lake Pedder temporarily while the situation is reviewed. Funding for the Serpentine dam. the Scott’s Peak Dam. the Gordon River Dam and related power generating facilities, all of which make up the Gordon River project, has substantially come from the Commonwealth I might say that the Opposition supported the Tasmania Agreement (Hydro-Electric Power Development) Bill 1968 to make available $47m in bridging finance. A large proportion of this money was to be used for the Gordon River project, although it must be admitted that it is difficult to earmark which dollars have gone where. However it is beyond dispute that Commonwealth money is heavily involved. Likewise in Tasmania the scheme has a bipartisan support and the Liberal Government elected in 1969 continued to implement a scheme commenced by the proceeding Reece Labor Government.

However, times have changed and since 1968 we have experienced a revision of values and priorities about our environment. No longer are we blinded by the power of our own technology, by economic growth for its own sake, and by the subjugation of nature. If the gates on the Serpentine Dam are opened now, we can all gain a breathing space and re-assess the situation. There have been mistakes on all sides. Now is the time to set aside politics and admit we were all wrong, including all of us in this Parliament wilh the exception, of course, of the new members who have entered the Parliament since 1969. We lacked information at that time and we gave little thought in granting this money to Tasmania in 1968. Let us be big enough and admit we were wrong. Let us rectify our mistake. This is what I am asking the Government to do.

There are several alternatives which could still be implemented to save Lake Pedder. The easiest would be not to dam the Huon River al Scott’s Peak at all and to use the pumping system to move water from the Serpentine Dam to the Gordon Dam. Other alternatives include the building of an artificial channel or flume around Lake Pedder from Scott’s Peak Dam to Serpentine Dam. The first scheme would reduce the total capacity of the storage by about 13 per cent but this will be the biggest manmade lake system in Australia - 13 million acre feet - if it is built as presently planned, and 1 stress that this is one of the wettest parts of Australia and there is no fear of drought. None of the alternative schemes would affect the power generating function of the middle Gordon scheme at all, for the Serpentine-Huon system is mainly an extra reservoir of water.

The cost of saving Lake Pedder has been estimated at between $5m and $25m depending upon who gives the estimate. However, the higher figure does include (lira for lost electricity production over the next 50 years. It is difficult to see how this figure is arrived at, as no alterations to the power generation facilities are necessary for any of the alternative schemes. What is necessary is courage, leadership and the support of this Parliament. I say that this Parliament has a bipartisan approach. I ask the Prime Minister again: Will he contact the Premier of Tasmania and ask him to halt the flooding of Lake Pedder? At the same time he could offer assistance from the Snowy Mountains Authority to give technical aid with the skills that the Authority has, as well as financial assistance. There exist precedents for such actions.

In the report of the United States Congress Council for the Environment Quality President Nixon clearly states what he did in 1971 in regard to the Cross Florida Barge Canal - he stopped it. Additionally, he authorised the purchase of about one million acres of land in Central Florida. Both of these steps were taken to ensure a good supply of fresh water to one of America’s great national assets - the Everglades National Park. At the time of the halt of the canal construction $50m had already been spent. One has to examine the magnitude of the money involved because we have to be concerned about our future. We want to build beautiful structures in Australia but we want to try to keep what beauty we have now instead of destroying it. Tn 1963 a similar move prevented the flooding of the Grand Canyon by a manmade lake. In 1972 it already seems inconceivable that man could have ever considered flooding such a treasure which belongs not only to the people of Arizona and the people of the United States of America but also to the people of the whole world. So let it be with Lake Pedder. If we act now it will be a great moment for global conservation. Now is the time to act. Let us preserve this area of unique culture for mankind for all time.

In urban Australia 88 per cent of our people are crammed into our cities. We want to keep these places of unique beauty in a state of preservation so that we do not destroy our environment around us just because of some short term economic gain. We want to look to a wide horizon because when we destroy our environment we are in fact destroying part of ourselves. I do not believe that there is any short cut in this issue. If mistakes are made we have to be big enough to say: ‘We made these mistakes. We have examined them and reexamined them and we will try to rectify the matter.’ I think that the only place in which they can be rectified and the only place from which the financial resources can be made available is this Commonwealth Parliament. I ask the Commonwealth Government to make the money available to the Tasmanian Government which is short of financial resources. I know that the hydro-electric authority in Tasmania has great power and that to some extent the economic future of Tasmania is involved, but from a long term point of view the beauty of Tasmania should be retained. Therefore I am asking in this plea that consideration be given at this late stage to preserving the Lake Pedder national park. Let us stop the proposed project and make the finance available for the preservation of this area. Let us open the gates to a review of the question so that we might be able to rectify a mistake that this Parliament has made.


– One might have thought that the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) would have handed the address that evidently was supplied to him to one of the honourable members from Tasmania. Today 1 want to speak more especially abou: servicemen, whether they be permanent servicemen or national servicemen. 1 want to speak about the mcn who willingly and voluntarily go to Papua New Guinea. Malaysia, Singapore or am other place to which the Services may demand that they go. These people should not be importuned or deprived of any benefits that they would derive in Australia. If these men meet with an injury when they are off duty they are not covered bv Commonwealth workers compensation, and it would appear that in some of these countries there is no availability of third party insurance and personal accident insurance. 1 am very determined and straightforward in stating that a man who is prepared to go anywhere to assist in this country’s defence should not be disadvantaged.

I have written to the Minister for the Army (Mr Katter) about servicemen in Papua New Guinea, and 1 have not yet been advised whether third party insurance is available in that area. The man I have presently in mind, a wonderful high school teacher, was prepared to go to Vietnam. Malaysia, Singapore or anywhere else that the Service demanded that he should go. He went willingly to Papua New Guinea. Despite the fact that he was off duty, he was riding his motor cycle on to a mission for the sergeants mess when he was involved in an accident. So it is a moot point whether he was on duty. But the Common wealth compensation committee is not as generous as is the Repatriation Department in giving our servicemen the benefit of the doubt. This young man was riding his motor cycle when an indigenous driver in a semi-trailer made a right hand turn without giving any indications and the rear wheels of the semi-trailer ian over this excellent young man. He was discharged from the Services. He should not have been discharged because under the regulations he should have been restored to a physical condition as near perfect as medical science could achieve, but he was discharged and left to his own resources. His injuries have cost him about S2,000. I say that it is up to the Government to ensure that this man is compensated. Although he was off duty, had he been off duty in Australia and the same type of accident had occurred, he would have been able to get third party insurance. It is cruel and wicked to treat our young servicemen, whether they be. members of the permanent forces or natonal servicemen, in this way. This man has had to go to specialists and have a special operation for his injuries. Of course he has a lingering complaint and is unable to carry on sporting activities as he would wish.

Next I want to refer to servicemen who are received into the Army as medically fit but some of whom within a short space of time meet with a slight injury fromslipping in the bath or because another serviceman has pulled a chair from under them and they have suffered a spinal injury. Although they have been received by the Army as being fit for service conditions, after these accidents occur it is remarkable how the medical profession and the medical boards find out that the condition is congenital or had existed before. But for his being employed by a wonderful organisation, a bank, which has stuck to him through thick and thin I do not know what one young man. with whose case I am familiar, would have done. He was a teller in a bank. If he got tired after 2 hours he was relieved. The bank paid the expenses of his specialist treatment. This man slipped in the bath at Puckapunyal only a month after he had enlisted. Previously he had played rugby league football and used to be able to throw a l-cwt bale of hay up onto a truck. The medical profession said that he had congenital trouble. Be that as it may, up to this time it had never affected him. He slipped in the bath and after 6 weeks the Army medical officers decreed that his condition was congenital. Whether a complaint is congenital or not, once the Services accept a man as medically fit and because of an accident a man has a pre-existing condition aggravated he should receive Commonwealth workers compensation or repatriation benefits.

I mention the case of a man who had served for quite some time in the Royal Australian Air Force. He started to take fainting fits, and eventually he was discharged as an epileptic. Because of his discharge he had to take a much more menial job than his qualifications otherwise would have secured for him, but immediaately the would-be employer found out, he had doubts and this man had to work digging trenches for the Water Board. After he came to me and put the circumstances it was found that he was not suffering from epilepsy but that he had a hole in the heart complaint. Certainly it was there before he enlisted but the RAAF received him and he served, I think, for 3 or 4 years. The complaint was wrongly diagnosed. It was not his fault. He was received into the Air Force and served. Again, according to the regulations, men should never be discharged until the medical profession can bring them to a state as near to physical perfection as it possibly can. But this rule appears to be overlooked. I appeal to the Government to give consideration to this wonderful body of men. All these men of whom I am speaking served their country willingly.

I am sorry that I have not had time to answer the honourable member for Bendigo (Mr Kennedy). It ill becomes anyone to pass slighting remarks about a person who is so much superior and greater than himself. In the Prime Minister, Mr William McMahon, we have one of the greatest financiers of the world. He played an important part in the International Monetary Fund. He was one of the originators of the idea of bringing about the International Monetary Fund Contribution Corps in an effort to break down the fictitious value of gold. Of course, here we live in a nation of knockers.


– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.

Austrian Capital Territory

– It was not my intention to speak in the grievance day debate. I had in mind speaking tonight on the adjournment but, as the opportunity :o speak has presented itself now, I shall race advantage of it. I make a strong plea for the creation in the Australian Capital Territory of a citizens advice bureau and, tinted to it, the office of a public solicitor. Perhaps I can highlight the need for these ! offices by informing the House of a few incidents that have occurred in my own personal experience in the last week or to, and link it up with a final story which occurred late last night and again at about 8 o’clock this morning concerning a young lady to illustrate this great need that exists in the Australian Capital Territory. Also, I hope to show that in the Australian Capital Territory, with all its obvious advantages, there are very great deficiencies. Canberra is a modern city, but it has no territorial government or local government and it follows from that that everything is administered by the Department of the Interior and the officers of that Department. These officers invariably are housed in high rise buildings in Civic Centre. T have nothing against high rise buildings as such but they do produce a sense of anonymity in the people working in them. The citizen in the street who has some problem - he might not be particularly well educated and, he may be in the lower income group of the community, and b; deficient in funds - often does not know where to turn for help. 1 give 2 examples which arose because of heavy rainfall which occurred in Canberra a few weeks ago. The protest was that roofs were leaking and the maintenance section of the Department of the Interior would not or could not attend to the problem. There was no-one to whom those affected could turn. It was after hours and they ended up going to their local member and quite rightly, too. Another case involved a lady who had been flooded out of her home. She too, had no-one to go to and she also turned to her local member. The point is that they should be able to go to someone who is readily accessible - not someone whose identity can be discovered only by a searching examination of the telephone directory under a name that probably means nothing to the person who is doing the search and who is then faced with the problem of finding this particular officer, going to a multi-storey building, looking at a directory of tenants, going up to the tenth floor and wandering along corridors that often are more reminiscent of a penitentiary than of an office housing someone who is accessible and friendly. People often are put off by some young person behind the counter who perhaps has not been taught the art of public relations, who has not been brought up in a shop where the customer is always right and who is not amenable. People who need help are put off by that sort of experience. They do not know where to turn. There should be someone to whom they can go who is down on the street corner in a shop that is open and which can be walked into and where they can receive friendly support.

Most of the other capital cities of Australia do have these citizens advice bureaus: Canberra has none. Most of the other cities of Australia have pubic solicitors offices; Canberra has none. I know that it has been said by the Government that there is to be introduced in the Australian Capital Territory a legal aid scheme that may overcome the difficulties of a person who has no money but has a problem. A legal aid scheme will not meet the situation because the person who has the problem often does not realise that it is a legal problem. He often does not realise that of all the solutions that may be available to him. the legal solution is only one. So. it does not occur to him to go to a lawyer, although the lawyer might help. He cannot afford to pay the lawyer anyway, so he will not take advantage even of the legal aid scheme. There are deficiencies in the legal aid scheme, but that is another matter and something which can be discussed at another time. A citizens advice bureau should be established; it should be well known and it should have the power and funds to advertise and to announce to the world that it exists. It should be in a readily available situation, perhaps in Civic Centre, where people walking past it can see its name emblazoned on the plate glass windows. 1 provide the House with 2 stories to illustrate what I am talking about. Last week a young man came to see me. He had a problem. He was being sued for $70. The claim arose because of a broken windscreen of a motor car. The question of insurance did not arise. He had no money, he was 20 years of age -and he was a labourer. He was married with one child and his wife was expecting another child. He, his wife and child were living in a garage which, fortunately, was in the backyard of his parents’ home. Because of the building layoff in Canberra for the last month or so he had been able to obtain only about 2 days’ labouring work a week. That meant he was bringing in something like S2S a week. He had a motor car which was indrivable and unregistered so it represented neither an asset nor a liability. In the garage they had a television set on which hire purchase payments were due. This 20-year-old man, married with his wife expecting their second child and living in a garage in Canberra, the national capital of Australia, suddenly was faced with a bill for $70. He did not know what to do.

He had gone to a lawyer who had once done some work for his father. The lawyersaid ‘Yes, I will fight it but I will have to ask you for $100’. 1 do not blame the lawyer for that because it involved travelling o Queanbeyan as the case was being heard’ in the Queanbeyan Court of Petty Sessions. The young man did not have $100 with which to pay the lawyer so I made inquiries on his behalf. I was told that he was probably entitled to the advantages of the legal aid scheme but when my inquiries reached the level of the Attorney-General (Senator Greenwood) I was told that he was not entitled to these benefits because, although he lived in Canberra, the national capital, and although it is an Australian Capital Territory legal aid scheme, the case was being heard in the Queanbeyan Court of Petty Sessions. Of course, that is a relic of federalism, the thing about which we hear so many kind words said. Fortunately, I believe that the young man’s case is to be settled. He strenuously denied that he was liable for the $70. With a good lawyer alongside him he might have won the case. He now has had to compromise by splitting the difference and paying $50 and he has asked for time to pay. Eventually he will be given time to pay his lawyer, although I believe the lawyer has reduced his fee out of kindness to the young man. This story highlights the problem that exists in the Australian Capital

Territory. That young man should have had the advice and, indeed, the assistance he needed.

I do not have much time remaining, but I mentioned earlier a case which was brought to my attention last night and again early this morning. A young lady 16 years of age, unmarried and pregnant - she is expecting her child shortly - came to me. She is being evicted from her house in Canberra. She does not know what to do. She lives in the house with her younger brother and her father, who is the tenant. Her father is separated from his wife who lives in some other part of Australia. The landlord gave her father a lease of the premises only last week, but between last week and now, the landlord decided to sell the property and he said 10 the tenant: *1 want you out’. The father earns $50 a week and he pays $30 of that in rent. Her father did not come to see me this morning. The young girl came to me in great distress. She did not know about a lawyer or about a landlord and tenant ordinance. TJ she had been in Sydney, someone would have sent her to the Public Solicitor and he would have taken up the case and told the landlord to go jump in the lake because on the facts presented to me. the landlord has no legal rights at all. That young girl who is only 2 or 3 weeks away from having her child came to see me at 8 o’clock this morning in a state of considerable distress. I finish on that note. There should be established a citizens advice bureau and a public solicitor’s office with his name emblazoned at street level on the plate glass window of a building in Canberra. I do not say that it will overcome all the problems in cases such as this but something must he done to stop this sort of thing continuing.


– In the short time available to me I wish to touch on a subject of very great importance to Australia and to Australia’s rural areas, particularly to my State of Queensland. I refer to rural reconstruction. I commend the Commonwealth Government for providing the funds h has provided for this purpose. I and many others never felt that the amount of money that was made available was sufficient to cope with the task which confronted governments in reorganising so man;, of our primary producers. If we are to deal with decentralisation and correct the imbalance of our population the basic principle must be to maintain as many people as possible in the areas where they are now. In the overall situation, this is the first and most important point of rural reconstruction.

Of course, a human element is involved also. In some cases, people WhO have lived in the country for 3 generation, who have proved their worth and who have been prepared to put up with conditiors and privations which are attached to living in many rural areas now face a very difficult financial situation through no fault of their own. Rural reconstruction is designed to help these people. In Queensland the Rural Reconstruction Board has dealt with a large number of applications and it has distributed a large amount of money. This morning at question time I asked whether there will be any delay in making available the funds provided to the Rural Reconstruction Board in that State. The point I make is this: While $16m has been allocated to Queensland out of a total allocation of $100m - I think it should have been more, but that is beside the point - it seems to me to make little sense that there should be a hold up for whatever length of time might be the case pending the beginning of a new financial year. I am conscious of the budgetary problems of a government. I am conscious of the fact that these difficulties arise. But 1 point out that if an emergency arose - if some development took place which required immediate financing - some means would be found to provide the money.

I suggest that as this money has been allocated it should be used while the Board is operating. The Queensland Government has demonstrated its appreciation of this great problem by providing approximately $10m out of its own funds for the wool growing areas which it regards as the greatest disaster area - this could be debated - in its State. This indicates the urgency and the need for this support. As I see it, the essential feature is that if we are to reorganise these people, this cannot be done in the future. If we are to reconstruct, it has to be done now. In many cases, it has to be done now because the people concerned cannot afford to wait. One of the criticisms that I have heard of this scheme has been in regard to the length of time it has taken to process claims and have the money allocated to the people concerned. 1 believe that the Rural Reconstruction Board in Queensland is to be commended for the efficient way in which it has handled this problem, lt had to start from scratch. There was nothing there at all. lt is a completely new organisation. Staff had to be built up and the whole scheme developed. They had no experience in this field. Although there were delays earlier, the Board is now working efficiently and well. But I arn concerned that it might be in a position where it can approve applications for which finance will not be available. When the meeting of State Ministers and Commonwealth Ministers takes place early next month 1 urge the Commonwealth to consider allowing the Rural Reconstruction Board in Queensland to use so much of that SI 6m as may be necessary to finance the approvals which will be made during this financial year. If more money is required, and there may be, surely no government will cut off the supply of funds when a fairly high percentage of people have received this benefit and when people in the same position and who are as deserving of help will be cut off from help because of lack of funds. These loans are used to maximum effect.

I want to repeal, with great emphasis, that this money is not being given away. Far too many people think that because §]00m has been allocated for rural reconstruction in the Commonwealth, that the taxpayer has provided that money and that that is the end of the matter. That is not the case. This money is only being lent. Indeed, those people receive these funds only if they can show they will become viable in a reasonable time after reconstruction of their debts and application of the funds that are made available under the rural reconstruction scheme. I urge the Government to give consideration to this matter. For goodness sake, do not let us hold up the work of rural reconstruction in Queensland because of some factor involved in going over to the next financial year before starting to make funds available again. It is not beyond the capacity of this Government to solve the problem, and I urge it to do so.

In the few minutes remaining to me, I want to touch on another matter of great importance to the outlying areas of the Commonwealth. I refer to the Isolated Children Parents Association. I believe that firstly it was formed in New South Wales and later in Queensland. Many branches have been formed in my electorate of Maranoa. We now have State bodies in New South Wales and Queensland and also a federal body. I would have liked to enlarge a good deal on this subject. I believe that if there is one section of the Australian community that is underprivileged, it is the section comprising the isolated children in this nation. Something will have to be done if they are to be given the opportunity in life which they are entitled to receive. I am pleased to note that the New South Wales Minister for Education had this to say in the New South Wales Parliament in answer to a question. I apologise for being able to read it only inter alia. He said:

I have been most anxious to cater for people whose circumstances have changed dramatically in the past couple of years. Now, according to my latest assessments, there may be 2.000 children who, according to any definition that has so far been applied to isolated children, would have to bc included in any scheme.

So a great need exists. Surely, we will not allow this number of children to be deprived. This is the figure in New South Wales only. I happened to have the answer to the question and that is why I quoted it. The need is just as great in Queensland. There is to be a meeting on l 1th March of the State body of the Association at Blackall in the electorate of my colleague, the honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter). I mention the subject to draw attention to it. I realise full well that this is primarily a matter for the State governments. But I believe that they will not have the funds available. Indeed, the Minister for Education in New South Wales made that point. I think he is meeting here with the Federal Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) on 13th March.

I again urge the Government to take action became these people are serving a very useful national purpose by populating those areas of the Commonwealth in which not so many people care to live. They are producing quite a high percentage of the export income upon which the prosperity of the nation in the final analysis must depend. They comprise a very deserving section of the community. I trust that this meeting is held with the Ministers of Education from the various States. I had intended to quote the objectives of the Association. I have them here. What it is trying to do is very worthy. These parents have made a sacrifice to travel hundreds of miles to try to form these organisations. They are making that sacrifice so that their children will have the opportunity that every Australian child should have, that is, a reasonable education.


– 1 want to speak on a matter which I believe involves a grave discrimination under the War Services Homes Act. This discrimination came rather glaringly to my notice in a case which was presented to me in my office last week. It concerns a 20-year-old son of a farmer in the Deloraine district of my electorate who has completed his national service training during which time he had 3 months service in Vietnam. He was discharged on 29th January last year and is receiving a small war pension for a gunshot wound in the left hand. His experiences have affected his nerves and he has had 2 months in hospital with nerve trouble.

This man was a member of the 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, an infantry unit. He recently married and because there is no home for him on his father’s farm he has had to board or rent a flat in Deloraine. He has to travel 7 miles to his father’s farm and 7 miles back home each day. He applied for a war service homes grant, which is his right as an exserviceman, at an interest rate of about 3% per cent. Honourable members are aware of this rate of interest which has not changed since it was brought in during the latter stages of World War II. This is the most wonderful Act that could possibly be conceived to assist ex-servicemen to get a home after they have finished their period of service.

This man’s application for a war service homes grant was rejected on the ground that he does not own a viable property. The fact that he is working on his father’s 500-acre property and that he is needed by his father does not count at all. He has one acre of land not far from his parents’ home on this property which was granted to him by his grandfather. However, as I said, the War Service Homes Division of the Department of Housing will not grant him a loan so that he can build a home on this land. In order to be eligible for a grant he needs to have the deeds of a viable property that is 70, 80 or 100 acres. He has to prove that he can earn a living off that number of acres before he is entitled to a war service home grant. 1 think I have never had brought to me a case so striking as this one. lt shows the discrimination that exists between a rural ex-serviceman and one who lives in a town or city. I took the matter up with the Minister for Housing (Mr Kevin Cairns) this week and I have laid the full story before him. But I also wanted to raise this matter in the House to show a very grave weakness in an Act of Parliament. I only hope that as a result of this representation an amendment will be made to the War Services Homes Act to put our country exservice boys on the same footing as those in the capital cities, big country towns or country cities. Mr J. B. Lucas, the Assistant Deputy Director of War Service Homes, set out in a letter to the exserviceman what in effect the Act states. Mr Lucas wrote:

Generally in a rural area, assistance is only available to an applicant who is the owner of a grazing or farming property from which that applicant derives the whole or a substantial part of his livelihood. In addition to deriving his livelihood from the property, which is regarded as a living area’, the property must not already possess a dwelling house.

I am sure you will appreciate that the area of land offered by you at Quamby Brook comprising approximately only one acre and being in a locality where surrounding properties are approximately from 200 to 300 acres, could not in any circumstance be regarded as a ‘living area’.

Representations were made on behalf of the ex-serviceman to ascertain whether the Department would grant him the right of a war service homes loan if he had 50 acres of land. The ex-serviceman was told that this would have to be examined by a departmental’ officer and that it would have to be proved to the Department’s satisfaction that he could live off 50 acres. As this is a dairying area the ex-serviceman would have to live off 50 acres of dairying land.

All in all this is a shocking case of discrimination as between ex-servicemen who have fought side by side in the latest conflict in Vietnam. When the city chap comes back he has only to apply for a war service homes loan and put down the necessary deposit in order to receive that loan. This is what happens with ex-servicemen who live in cities or country towns. But the country ex-serviceman has to prove to the Department that he owns an economic unit. In other words, he has to prove that he already has a farm which in some strange way has been given to him or which is owned by him in some form. He has to prove that he can live off 100 acres or 200 acres, as the case may be, before the Department will even consider him as an applicant. Not one city ex-serviceman has to prove the viability of his job in order to earn the right to a war service home loan. All he has to do is to show that he has a block of land or the equivalent in cash. This boy wants a $12,000 house built on the farm where he works every day of his life. He was prepared to put down $4,000 as a deposit. Therefore he needs only $8,000 from the War Service Homes Division. Even though those terms are fantastic - not many can offer so much by way of deposit - he still has been refused the loan.

As my colleague, the honourable member for Holt (Mr Reid), wants to address the House before the Grievance Day debate ends I will not take up any more of my time because I want him to have the maximum amount of time. I put it to the House and the Minister that this discrimination must be remedied. All ex-servicemen, whatever their age, size, occupation, background or talents, should have and absolute and equal right to obtain a war service homes loan. However, country ex-servicemen do not have this equal right. They are grossly discriminated against. I say that this is an outrageous discrimination and this Parliament through the Minister for Housing has to correct it.


– No doubt many stories will be written about the birth of Bangla Desh. However, the main factor which brought about its creation was the greatest movement of refugees this century - as some 10 million refugees crossed into the nearby Indian States - from mainly West Bengal, during the 9 months commencing March 25th 1971, up to the end of November. It is well known why they came, as the story of the refugees has been constantly told throughout the world per media of the press, radio, television, etc.

As Bangla Desh commences its first few weeks as a sovereign State, many more stories of genocide and atrocities begin to unfold. That such inhuman acts have been committed on these people is beyond our comprehension. However, now that the people are free to speak without fear and intimidation, many more stories of persecution and genocide will be told. Whilst millions of refugees were able to escape to India, millions more within East Pakistan were refugees within their own country, and some 3 million of these lost their lives in a gruesome way. It will be many months or years before the full story is told as many of the survivors are mentally disturbed and stupefied by what has happened in their cities and villages over the past 12 months. There is no doubt many more would have lost their lives had India not invaded East Pakistan and quickly brought an end to this horrible massacre of innocent people.

However, not all the atrocities and killing were on one side as many parties were involved. I do not have the time to go into this matter right now. No doubt the determining factor which forced India’s hand was the refugee problem as she could not alone cope with the intolerable position where she had to provide for some 10 million refugees, as it was affecting India’s economy, and this was preventing her from tackling her own enormous problems of poverty, illiteracy, over-population, etc. However, perhaps of greater importance, had this situation continued many of the children in the 1,000 refugee camps faced acute problems of malnutrition and there would have been mortality on an unprecedented scale had they had to endure life much longer in these camps. As it was, some 400,000 children are reported to have died and this was quite evident when one observed the few infants returning home with their parents now that they are free to do so.

India’s invasion of East Pakistan on 3rd December 1971 quickly brought an end to all this. Few armed conflicts have brought so much happiness and joy to so many people. It is obvious America and other

Western countries were not happy with India’s action. However, they failed to understand the intolerable position she found herself in. Her great victory quickly brought freedom for the people of Bangla Desh and the refugees in India and this alone warranted India’s action. The only criticism one can perhaps level at India is that her invasion should have taken place many months earlier. Had this happened the large red centre of the Bangla Desh flag, which indicates the blood of those who gave their lives in their fight for liberation, might not have appeared so prominently. What has happened is now the history of Bangla Desh. It is fortunate that the war was over in 14 days and that this very beautiful country and its happy and carefree people have been liberated.

Whilst India did everything possible to provide for the refugees, their plight in the camps was grim and desperate, particularly during the monsoon, which was the worst in 25 years, as thousands continued to arrive each day with a peak of from 70,000 to 100,000 a day from April to June 1971. Never before has there been such a large movement of refugees. How India provided for such large numbers each day only a few district commissioners and those directly involved could possibly tell. Prior to the war even the most optimistic person believed that a certain percentage of the refugees would be in India for many years. However, a miracle has happened. The refugees have returned to their new country at the rate of one million a week which was never expected. They were such a pitiful lot as they arrived carrying their few scanty possessions with them and many did not survive those harrowing months.

Now it is all over. Many people have asked why it is that they have returned in such numbers so soon after liberation and what they could possibly hope to find from the ruins of their homes and villages and the sad memories that precipitated their departure. However, to see them trekking back fewer in numbers by 500,000 - scrambling onto the hundreds of trucks, buses and trains which have been employed by the Government of India to evacuate them from the camps - is truly a miracle. Their ready acceptance to return must have been motivated by a natural instinct to return to their country of birth.

The movement of these unfortunate people in such large numbers makes the Normandy landing and D-Day operations, which were meticulously planned by top military administrators, tiny by comparison as a Dunkirk has taken place each day in the evacuation of the refugees back to Bangla Desh. It must also be remembered that the refugees - illiterate farmers, small shopkeepers and so on - were not disciplined like servicemen. However, their return to their villages with great haste and efficiency equalled any carefully planned military operation of the last war. It is perhaps natural that these people would want to return to their country of birth and the loved ones they left behind. However, allowing for all these factors, the evacuation of 10 million refugeeswithin a few weeks is truly a miracle. Whilst the Press came from around the world to record the plight of the refugees in India, their great evacuation has gone unheralded.


– Order! It is now 15 minutes to 1 o’clock and in accordance with standing order 106 the debate is interrupted. I put the question:

That grievances be noted.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.

page 228


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 22 February (vide page 68), on motion by Mr Wentworth:

That the Bill he now read a second time.

Upon which Mr Hayden had moved by way of amendment:

That all words after ‘That’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: ‘whilst not opposing the provisions of the Bill,this House is of opinion that the vast majority of those currently unemployed have become unemployed as a direct result of Government economic policies and accordingly directs the Government to prepare a Bill for presentation to this House within 14 days which provides for unemployment benefits not below the updated poverty level established by the 1966 survey of the University of Melbourne’s Institute of applied Economic and Social Research.


– I support the amendment moved by the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden). In this Bill the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) has informed the House that unemployment benefits are to be increased. He has stated that the new rates compare very favourably with the rate that applied in 1947. He did not, of course, compare the rates of unemployment benefit with the average weekly earnings, either currently or as applicable in 1947. Such a comparison paints an entirely different picture, as I will demonstrate with figures prepared by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library Statistical Service. These figures show that in 1947 average weekly earnings were SI 4.80 and at present are $90. In 1947 a man and wife received as unemployment benefit 34 per cent of average weekly earnings. Now. before the increase proposed in this Bill, the same family group receives as unemployment benefit 20 per cent of average weekly earnings. When the proposed increase is granted the unemployment benefit for a man and wife will equal 27.8 per cent of average weekly earnings.

In 1947 a man with a wife and child received as unemployment benefit 33.8 per cent of average weekly earnings. At present that family group receives 25 per cent of average weekly earnings, and when the increase is granted it will receive 32.8 per cent of average weekly earnings, a percentage lower than that applicable in 1947. In addition the value of the increases will be eroded by inflation before they are introduced. Inflation has been responsible for reducing the purchasing power ot all social service benefits and it will continue to do so. It will not be long before the value of the proposed increase will, to a large extent, disappear.

The cost of living increased by 7 per cent over the 12 months ended December 1971. Our amendment provides for unemployment benefits to be increased so that they are not below the poverty level established by the 1966 survey by the Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research of the University of Melbourne, updated in accordance with increased prices. It is important to note that under the Chifley Government unemployment in 1947 was insignificant and concerned mainly workers in transition from one job to another. Now we are faced with a large pool of unemployed deliberately created by this Government. Although the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) earlier denied it, he now admits that unemployment was deliberately increased. In his statement on the consumer price index of 20th January 1972 he said:

Twelve months ago many of those who are now demanding major ‘stimulation’ of the economy were equally strongly demanding vigorous action by the Government to deal with the inflationary situation. It should also be kept clearly in mind that the situation they were then concerned with was itself the product, in considerable part, of that very tight labour market the easing of which is now apparent. If the present position in regard to inflation of cost and prices is grim, it would have been much worse in the absence of the action by the Government which its critics now seek to have reversed.

No Government desires to see unemployment increasing. Those who, like myself, have to play their part in the task of determining the Government’s economic policy are well aware of all the points that could be made in this respect, and also of the highly emotional language to which the subject lends itself. Yet there is another side to the matter, and it needs stating.

For the first time for some years, labour turnover is falling off in many areas; absenteeism and the rapid changing of jobs, with all the waste and costs to the economy they involve, are declining. Employers seeking labour can now more readily obtain it.

If that is not an admission that unemployment was deliberately created by this Government, despite its former denials, I have not seen one. Unemployment has increased and is continuing to increase. This trend in itself should justify the defeat of this Government at the forthcoming federal election. The McMahon Government has the unenviable reputation of setting out with the deliberate intention of creating a pool of unemployment. If that is not so, what is to be made of the passage I quoted from the speech of the Treasurer? We also note that the Treasurer in his Budget Speech stated that it had been decided to limit the growth in numbers employed full time under the Public Service Act. That number was also severely cut back in the earlier economy campaign. This policy has gravely affected the job opportunities of young people leaving school, so much so that many of them are returning to school rather than face unemployment.

The Government now realises that it has made a rod for its own back. The outcry from all sections of the community is causing it to have second thoughts, not because it does not want unemployment but because it is concerned at the effect this will have on its electoral prospects. The Government has not forgotten 1961 when it went within one seat of losing office. It realises now that it is faced with the danger of losing office, as it surely will.

The skies are black with the chickens coming home io roost. There is no doubt that like the proverbial chicken this Government will get it in the neck. Unemployment has risen everywhere in Australia. It has increased in the building industry, which is always a good barometer of the state of the economy. In Wes:ern Australia the building industry has been badly hit as is demonstrated by newspaper reports. The Perth ‘Daily News’ of 9th February, under the heading ‘W.A. Building Slump Is Shown In Figures’, stated:

The serious unemployment in the W.A. building industry is confirmed by figures released today.

On September 30 last year there were 322 skilled building and construction workers and 94 registered vacancies. Twelve months earlier vacancies had outnumbered unemployed.

The ‘West Australian’ of 18th February, under the heading ‘Worse Jobs Crisis Seen In Building’, stated:

Unemployment in WA’s building industry was likely to get worse in the next few months, the State secretary of the Building Trades Association, Mr P. Butler, said yesterday. The number of new houses and flats started in the December quarter of 1971 was the lowest for S years.

The article went on to point out that the Federal Government was asked to provide $30m to relieve unemployment in the State building industry but a federal grant of only $2.8m was announced at the recent Premiers’ Conference: Instead of decreasing, unemployment is increasing. I am not putting a case for Western Australia alone. This is a national issue, lt is Australia wide, but some areas have been hit harder than others. In many areas there are 4 applicants for each job. In some areas 5 unemployed persons apply for each vacancy. The hard fact is that unemployment has continued to increase month by month in recent months and year by year in recent years. The honourable member for Paterson (Mr O’Keefe), who spoke in this debate on Tuesday evening, said that the Government was pledged to a policy of full employment. If so, it has a funny way of showing it. Unemployment has increased by 46 per cent over the comparable figure for last year. The figure for this January when compared with the figure for January last year reveals a pretty big increase. We have heard about the number of man hours lost as a result of strikes but the facts are that the number of man hours lost through unemployment have a greater effect on production than do the man hours lost through strikes.

During ae debate on a matter of public importance last November, the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) admitted that the number of unemployed could reach 100,000 in January. Other estimates al that time suggested that the number could reach 120,000. We find now that it has reached more than 130,000. This must mean a terrific loss of production. 1 agree, of course, that one has io compare like with like when comparing figures and it is not much use comparing 2 months which are not comparable. The monthly review of the unemployment situation for January 1972 and January 1971 - these are the official figures - is as follows: In January 1972 there were 130,233 unemployed and in January 1971 the figure was 89,137 which is an increase of more than 41,000, equal to an increase of 46 per cent. There were 37,486 in receipt of unemployment benefits in January 1972 and 18,337 in January 1971, an increase of 19,149. The number more than doubled in that period. There were 42,860 unfilled vacancies in January 1972 and 64,287 in January 1971. So we find that there has been a drop in the number of unfilled vacancies of 21,427. These figures reveal that there are 3 unemployed to every vacancy registered with the Commonwealth Employment Service.

The building industry is always a good barometer of the state of the economy. It continues to slow down. Many workers have lost their jobs and worse is to follow. The McMahon unemployment pool has developed into a flood. It has burst its banks and will upset our entire economy unless urgent action is taken. The action taken so far is not sufficient because unemployment has a snowballing effect. Every worker put out of work means that by repurcussion other workers are affected and more unemployment is created. Indeed, we have seen this over the last few months where the unemployment of qualified workers has had a snowballing effect, creating more unemployment. The economic indicators show that the recent Budget tipped the economy into recession. The ‘Financial Review’ of 10th September 1971 suggested that the number of unemployed as a result of the Budget could reach 150,000. At the time it seemed to be an excessive figure but since then it has jumped from 63,679 to 130,233 or from 1.15 per cent of the work force to 2.31 per cent, more than doubling in that period. That is what the ‘Financial Review’ had to say at that time - it could reach 150,000. Where will it end?

The tragedy is that the Government refuses to acknowledge this. It still clings blindly to the prejudice that all that is wrong with the economy are the wage claims of the workers. The facts are that the wage earner has to prove his claim for an increase before an arbitration tribunal. He has to produce evidence and witnesses to justify his claim. The Government has said that it will oppose the claims and it has done so in the present wage case before the Arbitration Commission. But it does nothing about prices. The Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd decided on its recent price Increase behind the closed door of its board room. There was no question of evidence, no question of witnesses and no question of the matters which the Arbitration Commission has to take into account. The first announcement was that the increase would be 5.3 per cent. Now we find that on some products it is to be 9 per cent or 10 per cent and steel for the building industry is to go up by 9 per cent. What effect will that have on the cost of housing for the people, particularly the young people, who need homes?

In his reasons for judgment in the 1964 wages case, Mr Justice Moore, who is involved in the present hearing, stated that increases in prices are determined by those who fix prices and that there was no authoritative control over prices although there was a tight control over wages. But the Government ignored this and continues to refuse to consider price control - one law for the rich and another for the workers. It is prepared to fix wages but not prices. Reality shows that the most the wage earner can do is hold his own in his fight to keep his wages in line with the inroads made by inflation. In fact, he does not hold his own. As he gets higher wages, he moves into higher income tax groups and so his actual take home pay is eroded and he is continually trailing behind increased prices. Month by month unemployment has worsened; year by year it worsens. This January, as I have said, there is 46 per cent more unemployment than there was in January last year. The figure for December 1971 increased considerably over that for December 1970 and so it goes on. The important factor is that the unemployment figures never show the true position. Many of those unemployed never register for unemployment benefits. Those who saw ‘Four Corners’ a few weeks ago, which dealt with unemployment, will remember that of those unemployed persons who were interviewed not one had registered. They were looking for work without registering with the Department of Labour and National Service. I have obtained an article from the parliamentary library dealing with this matter. It is called ‘The Hidden Workless’ and deals with the unemployment situation in Britain. It bears out the argument which I have just been putting forward. The summary of the article states:

Since 1948 official British unemployment figures have been entirely based on the number of people registered at the employment exchanges as out of work. But the 1966 10 per cent sample census showed that about 23 per cent of unemployed men and well over 40 per cent of unemployed women in good health did not register their unemployment.

To a certain extent that applies in Australia. For instance, the figures of the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics do not coincide with those of the Department of Labour and National Service. The honourable member for Oxley, when moving this amendment, pointed out that the difference ranges from 17 per cent to 33 per cent which means that the figure of 130,000 odd should be increased by anything from 26,000 to 43,000 to gel the real pool of unemployment that has been created in our midst. The Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the Minister for Social Services accuse people of indulging in whispering campaigns and say that these people want to create alarm and despondency. What they forget is that the people who support them politically have been among their greatest critics. Mr Blyton, president of the Associated Chambers of Commerce, when referring to unemployment said:

These figures are a further indication that the level of economic activity is continuing to ease.

The federal president of the Associated Chambers of Manufactures has said something similar. The obvious weakness of the

Budget strategy was revealed even while the Budget was being debated in this place. The Government would not acknowledge it but now it has its doubts about it and recognises that some action is necessary. But any action taken so far has not been effective. Unemployment continues to increase, thus supporting the charge I made last November during the debate on the matter of public importance that the Government had deliberately set out to create a pool of unemployement This has now been admitted by the Treasurer. The Government will not want unemployment to affect its electoral prospects but the people in their own minds have already decided to toss this crowd out of office when the elections take place, and the sooner the better. Any action that the Government does take will be to maintain this pool. The Government will try to reduce it to an acceptable level, but it still wants this pool of unemployed. To line up a number of unemployed outside the factory gates is part of the Government’s policy to discipline workers. The danger is that the Government may not be able to stem the tide. That is a very real danger at present. The policy that has been followed by the Government is the very policy that was responsible for the recessions of 1956 and 1961 and, indeed, the depression of the 1930s, bringing misery and suffering to the unemployed who saw their families living below the breadline. The Goverment stands condemned for deliberately creating a pool of unemployment, as admitted by the Treasurer in his statement on 20th January. 1 support the amendment and commend it to the Parliament.


– I rise to support the Bill, which provides for a substantial increase in unemployment benefits. This is distinctly in line with the Government’s policy, over a period of 23 years, of full employment, during which period the salaried workers and the wage earners of this country have enjoyed a Fishig prosperity never before seen here. Today the working man has a belter home. He has a car, television, radio, refrigerator and all the things that he did not have under a Labor government some 23 years aso. This Government’s deliberate policy of providing full employment has been successful right through the years. Today there is a degree of unemployment - fortunately, not large as yet. At 2.3 per cent it is one of the lowest in the word in comparable countries.

Unlike the Chifley Government, this Government did not proceed to cut pensions to deal with the unemployment. It increased the unemployment relief. That is a different action altogether. The Government is taking measures to assist people under what it believes is a temporary situation. The unemployment has been brought about deliberately - not by the Government but by a few extreme left wing leaders who are misleading many honourable members on the other side of the House. They are the real masters of the present leaders of the Australian Labor Party, and they have a vested interest in unemployment. This Government would have much to lose if unemployment rose; the Opposition would have everything to gain. No decent person wants to see unemployment. There is nothing more demoralising than to see a man with a wife and family who is unemployed and looking for work. I know that the majority of the honourable members on the other side of the House agree wholeheartedly with that contention. They do not want to see unemployment. But the danger is that they are. willingly or unwillingly, being led by those who have a vested interest in unemployment and who are trying to create in this counory, with all its prosperity and potential, a depression atmosphere. They are trying to exaggerate the position. Many of them cheer every time more people go out of work.

Quite recently the Leader of the Opposition in the New South Wales Parliament came to my electorate ostensibly to look at the unemployment position. That is an area where there is very little unemployment. I have been to every shire clerk and town clerk in my electorate and 1 know what I am raying. There is very little unemployment there. He did not go to the areas where there is some unemployment - out in the far west, where the economic conditions requiting from the fall in the price of wool have created unemployment. He came to my area because there is a revival of confidence and he wanted to block it. He wanted to paint as black a picture as possible because he was afraid that the true position would militate against the Labor Party’s chances of winning in the next election. My strongest criticism of my own Government is that it has not taken strong enough action against the disruptionists, the ones who are trying to cause unemployment for their own ulterior motives. 1 think we ought to look at the real cause of rising costs and the lowering of purchasing power. I have said repeatedly that inflation bears hardest on the average wage earner, the pensioner, the man on a fixed income and particularly the superannuitant who through thrift and sheer hard work sought to provide for his old age. His savings have been eroded and he is not able to live decently. What are the real causes of the lowering of the purchasing power of these people and of the wage earner generally? Firstly, unquestionably the greatest cause is a wage increase without an equivalent increase in productivity. Every farmer knows that the more money you can pay the working man the better. Every businessman and every manufacturer knows that the wage earner has the greatest purchasing power in this country. But you cannot go on paying increased wages without an equivalent rise in productivity. If wages do rise without that equivalent rise in productivity somebody has to make up the difference, and that somebody is the buyer of the goods, the housewife. The wage earner himself is the greatest sufferer.

The loss of productivity through engineered strikes results in higher costs, higher prices and a loss of purchasing power. A 35-hour working week, as advocated by many honourable members opposite, would increase costs tremendously, ft has been estimated that it would increase costs in city areas by 12 per cent and in country areas by at least 20 per cent. For example, a councillor of the Northern Riverina County Council in my electorate said that a 35-hour week would force the council to increase the cost of power to the consumer, the housewife, by at least 20 per cent. Again it would be the working man, the wage earner, who would be the loser. Let us not forget that it was Mr Hawke who said that 1971 would be a year of strikes. He se’ out to make it that. He has been much more successful than even he hoped he could be. He said that it would be the year of the 35-hour week, and he. did all he could to force that through.

What is more interesting and has a tremendous impact on people in the rural areas is what Mr Hawke said regarding farmers. He said that 1971 would be the year of the 35-hour working week and that he would resist all efforts to use arguments about the cost price squeeze and its impact on farmers as a reason to hold down wage levels. He went on to say that some farmers were in financial trouble, but these were solely small and inefficient marginal producers without whom we would all be better off. That is interesting to people in my electorate. It shows his complete ignorance of the average farmer and it shows what he thinks of ‘he primary producers. I would like to know of one industry today that, with today’s costs and receiving the prices of 20 years ago that the farmer is getting, would be solvent. A great many of ‘he farmers today are extremely efficient. Of course it is in the best interests of the primary producers, the manufacturers and the businessmen that the wage earner be paid ‘he highest possible wage, providing he is earning it. It is when Mr Hawke and his left wing disruptionists, and sometimes big business, give wage rises without an equivalent increase in production that we destroy the purchasing power of the people and of this nation.

At the present time we do not have a really big problem. It is one that we can deal with by giving assistance to those who are temporarily unemployed. But if we do not deal with the disruptionists we will have a major recession. I believe that the Government must take a firmer stand in dealing with those who are trying to create such a position. This nation is basically prosperous, compared with any other country with an equivalent standard of living. Our balance of trade has never been higher. Our banks and savings accounts are at an all time high. Most of them belong to working people. The wool market is very much better and promises well. The wheat situation has changed dramatically for the better. Meat markets are opening up everywhere. New markets for coarse grains and oilseeds are becoming available all over the world. Air freighting of fruit and vegetables is being developed From my own area we are freighting fruit to South East Asia and even to London. But all these export industries, both manufacturing and primary, will be in jeopardy if we allow these rising costs to go on without the equivalent increase in productivity. Export earnings are vital to the prosperity of everybody in this country.

I appeal to the genuine Labor men - there are not too many of them left now as we are getting so many of the new academics on the other side who have an entirely different approach - to see that this white-anting of what was a once great Party is stopped. I appeal to them to cease supporting the attitude of creating unemployment for political ends. By promoting frivolous rolling strikes and go-slow policies the left wing element is trying to promote misery and want, because that is the only way that they will be able to succeed. This is a country with untold resources and tremendous opportunity. It is surrounded by a tremendous potential market. Here we have a once great Party trying to promote an atmosphere of destruction, an atmosphere of despair. What is said is just not true but is said for political ends. Tt is time Australia woke up to what is being done, lt is time Australia woke up to the fact that there is no substitute for a fair day’s work and to treat the employer as public enemy No. 1 and to do as little as you can for as much money as you can get out of him will destroy the purchasing power of the country.

It is true that there is some unemployment including some in rural areas caused, by the world recession in the prices of primary products. But the picture is not nearly as serious as has been painted by those who have a vested interest in trying to destroy confidence. Confidence is a very delicate thing. Morale is a very delicate thing. If you destroy the confidence of those engaged in industry you will destroy the confidence of those from whom they would borrow and those who would assist them in developing this country. This is the last thing that we want to see. I believe that instead of handing out unemployment relief as a permanent cure we ought to look more seriously at providing major work programmes during this temporary period, lt is perhaps degrading to ask a man to do things such as clean the gutters in the streets when this can be done more efficiently by a machine. It is far better to start some major developmental work and give a man a decent self respecting job in which he can earn good money. These jobs could be provided by long term finance.

I am thinking of such things as those which I have been trying to promote in my own electorate for a very long time such as the Tumut-Canberra road which would bring untold benefits to many people. This is something that would absorb any unemployed in that area. The provision of trickle irrigation in a place like Young which is the largest sweet cherry growing area in the world would result in saving many hundreds of trees that are lost and take 10 or 12 years to replace. It would level out production. The provision of better roads and bridges and other long term development projects would give worthwhile employment to people in the country until such time as the position rights itself, as it undoubtedly will, if we do not retain the better type of worker in the country, as the revival comes - it is coming in the rural areas: it will come there more quickly than it will in the city areas because generally country people know how to work - we will not have these workers when we need them and the whole nation will suffer.

Australia is a wonderful country, as I have said before. It has a tremendous future. For over 23 years we have, had the greatest prosperity under a Liberal-Country Party Government. For over 23 years this Government has been able to provide full employment. For the first lime in 23 years there is a small degree of unemployment which has been created deliberately not by the Government but those who have a vested interest in unemployment. I have said this a dozen times and the more it is repeated the better, when we have calamity howlers and prophets of doom in this country who want to create this atmosphere for their own benefit: The Bill is a: temporary measure to provide work for those who want to work and to restore the confidence and morale of the people in this country - a great country which still has unlimited opportunities. There is no place for despondency. There is no place for those who would paint a picture of unemployement rising without any cure for it at all. I have much pleasure in supporting this Bill and congratulate the Minister and the Government on their timely action to relieve what is, I repeat, a temporary situation.


– It is not difficult to follow the honourable member for Hume (Mr Pettitt) and the contribution that he endeavoured* to make or read to the House. I enter this debate not to go over the figures which my colleagues who have preceded me in this debate have so adequately dealt with but to accuse this Government of creating social bastardisation in this country; I could not find another word to express it. You have created the tombstones of unemployment in every capital, major city and rural hamlet in the countryside. You have done it by following deliberate policies. Never mind about the honourable member for Mallee (Sir Winton Turnbull) who interposes: ‘It is Mr Hawke’. That is just so much rubbish and he knows it. While you are on that, just keep quiet about the trade union movement until you are in the Party room and have sufficient courage to say What you want to say next Tuesday night on the opposite side of this building. You can get up in this House after Tuesday night and say what you like about the trade union movement in the light of where your courage might be and in respect of what action you may take next Tuesday evening in your combined Party room. The Government has introduced 2 Budgets since I entered this Parliament :<nd those Budgets were designed to create unemployment and much as many honourable members opposite may like to stand in this chamber, although I can see only 3 Liberals in this House at the moment-

Mr Giles:

– Look what you have done to them.


– There are 2 Liberals sitting here; that is all. The honourable member for Angas may enter this debate on behalf of the electorate that he represents and say something about the high handed attitude of Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd and the effect that the increase in steel prices will have on many wine growers in the electorate of Angas. The Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) went over a wide range of matters in his second reading speech. In the greatest lot of drivel that has ever been placed in the Hansard record of this House he dealt with communism and God knows what else. Later in an Australian Broadcasting Commission programme the Minister saw fit to make some endeavour to support that particular line of view. This is a complete and absolute smoke screen which the people of Australia will not accept today. Nor will they accept it next month if this Government has enough courage to face the people in an election. You ought to be put out of office, lt is no damn good for you to come in here parroting percentages as did the honourable member for Hume. I am not concerned one whit about the unemployment problems associated with other countries and for this very good reason: Those who are unemployed in Western Germany and those who are unemployed in the- United Kingdom do not happen to be my constituents.

Mr Katter:

– That is good stuff.


– Thank you. lt is about time the honourable member started to think about this. Our constituents are the people who should be the concern of this Parliament. We have no control over the unemployment situation in the United Kingdom, in Western Germany, in Eastern Germany for that matter, or anywhere else. This Government by its policies has created unemployment in this country. Now what do you propose to do about it? Each and every one of you who has entered this debate, and Ministers in answers to questions since this sitting resumed last Tuesday, have blamed the increase in wages as the cause of the situation today. Now we hear about a 9 per cent rise by BHP in the price of building steel. Probably next week we will see the same thing with petrol. What action do you propose to take about that? What criticism have you got to make? Only yesterday afternoon you refused to allow to be tabled a letter which was the subject of considerable discussion in this House. Why? Many of you were fearful because the letter contained demands.


-Order! The honourable member shall not canvass a decision of the House in the same session. The House decided regarding that matter.


– It is my belief that the letter was not tabled because of the big fight between the Liberal and Country parties, or at least competition between the two for electioneering funds. Let us consider this letter. Let us have a look at this move by BHP. Let us cast our minds back to last May when this House went into hurried recess, when 20-odd Bills were pushed through the House in less than that number of hours. Many of the Bills involved millions of dollars. Why were the Prime Minister and the Government so intent on getting the Parliament into recess? It was because they knew darned well, and knew in advance, that a few days after the House went into recess there would be an announcement of an 8 per cent rise in prices by BHP. Many of the Ministers of the Government knew before Christmas of the proposed increase by BHP. I have spoken to people in the last week who have told me that they placed orders for steel in anticipation of the rise well before there was any announcement. In other words they were saying that the trade was barking it. Did not the Prime Minister and perhaps a few of his confidants suggest to the BHP officials that they withhold the announcement, but no more than withhold it, until after the socalled massive hand-out to the State Premiers in the forlorn hope that it would be swallowed and everybody would be saying what a great boy the Prime Minister was? Of course this was not so. It has not worked out this way, as the Government now realises.

What measures are then open to the Government? What notice has it taken of many of the editorials in the daily and national Press throughout the country in the last few months? It has taken no notice at all. What measures has the Government taken to give a real stimulus to the building industry? What measures has the Government taken to bring about a reduction in sales tax on Australian manufactured goods? The Government from time to time has spoken about the tremendous wealth in the country and the tremendous savings of small depositors. Why are savings bank deposits increasing? It is because everybody is fearful. Everybody in the community recognises the inadequacy of the Government. It is no good the honourable member for Hume criticising the people who say that the country lacks confidence. This Government reduced their confidence bv its Budget.

Why does the Government not do something other than make some feeble attempt to say that it is doing something by increasing unemployment benefits to the extern that it proposes? Already social workers in the country are writing letters to national newspapers saying that the minimum wage and salary earners are far below the poverty line. What then does this do for the people who are on social service benefits? What confidence can the Government expect to give to the parents of teenage children who are forced back to school or forced into an area of employment, if they are fortunate enough to get employment, when these children stayed at school for an extra 3 or 4 years to equip themselves for a job much better than they are able to acquire at this time? How is the Government to instil confidence into these parents and children by introducing a measure such as this? lt cannot hope to do it. It is not achievable in that way and the Government should know that. If the Government considers itself the brains trust of the country it is time honourable members opposite started to scratch their heads and not perhaps where they sit. The fact is that the Government has not done any of these things.

The Premier of South Australia put forward a programme involving a number of points that would help the economy of that State because South Australia is in a vulnerable position. It is in a situation that was created by this Government in 1961 and created by it again in the last 2 years. The Government knows perfectly well the position of that State. It did nothing about the Premier’s demands or suggestions that, were made here in this very chamber only a couple of weeks ago. It seems to me that the Cabinet, the 13 guilty men, is reluctant to move with any degree of progress because it has made an assessment, if not an analysis, that it is not time for it to worry abou* the ills of the country. That time will arrive when it brings down its next Budget later on this year. The Budget no doubt will be a Budget designed to hoodwink the people and to make false issues out of real issues, and the Government hopes :o be swept back into office in that way. The Minister for Social Services sits at the table taking little notice Does he himself not get a percentage from the Big W store on the South Coast of New South Wales?


– Does he not get a percentage?


– Does he not get a percentage of 2 per cent to 4 per cent out of the purse of every woman shopper in that area?


– He has a vested interest in it.


-Order! I have endeavoured 3 times to catch the honourable member’s attention. The honourable member will not make any imputations about any other honourable member. There are forms of the House which cover this master. 1 regret that the honourable member sees fit to make such allegations. I ask the honourable member not to continue in that vein.


– lt is considered to be a legitimate business practice. My mentioning that a member of this House is engaged in a legitimate business practice surely should not be considered as not being in parliamentary good taste.


– I thought the honourable member was implying that the Minister was receiving some monetary consideration.


– No. I suggested that he was engaged in a business of profit in an area in which rising costs have not been brought about by wage and salary demands. That is in the food industry, particularly in the retail sector. Twenty years ago the proprietors of corner shops were saying: ‘If the Labor party introduces nationalisation we will lose our comer shops. They will be gone forever.’ The massive K-marts and supermarkets have taken their place. The women shoppers have become their own shop assistants. As a result of this, handling charges have been reduced. Has there been any great benefit to the community as a result of this type of business? All I was endeavouring to say was that we have in this chamber on the opposite side people who are engaged in that type of business for profit. I can see nothing unparliamentary in that. Whether they have been able to do a better deal than some other honourable members out side the House in contractual and business arrangements with Big W stores and what have you is a matter for themselves to decide in their sleepless nights if they have any conscience.

The Government has said in this chamber that the right of Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd is virtually sacrosanct and nothing can be done about it. Will anybody on the other side who has spoken and who has mentioned the rural sector deny that the increase in the price of petrol brought about by the last 2 Budgets of this Government has not had an effect in the rural sector? Is anyone on the Government side going to say that the rise in steel prices over the last 2 years has not affected the rural sector? Is anybody on the other side of the House going to continue in the manner in which honourable members opposite have been speaking for the last couple of years anyway by blazing away every time they hear the trade union movement mention a 35-hour week? They wilfully disregard what is considered to be the real approach of the trade union movement to a 35-hour week. Have they themselves considered that, by the introduction, in a back door manner, of wheat quotas and the reduction of some wheat growers to a quota that is barely enough to exist on, they have reduced the working week of these farmers, or is it that they want those industries in Australia facing real problems of redundancy today not to move in this regard?

Despite what the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) may say from time to time, the fact is that there are some industries in Australia in which mechanisation and indeed almost automation has reached a level where the position has to be looked at quite closely not only from the point of view of a reduction in the working week but also from the point of view of whether there ought not to be a complete re-training programme, lt could be that during the working lives of those who are leaving school during the course of the next few years they may have to go through re-training and re-education at least 3 times. This Government pays lip service to the fact that it might be necessary to re-train some people because of a redundant situation in a number of industries, but it has done virtually nothing about it. It is time that Government supporters put action into some of the words they have spoken from time to time in this chamber instead of relying on the personal abuse that the Opposition is putting politics into everything it says.

During the second reading speech of the Minister for Social Services when he was thumping the Communist can - that is about the only can that has not gone up in price during the last week - the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp), who now is sitting on the front bench attending to some notes, was heard to say to the Deputy Speaker as he left the chamber: ‘Good stuff’. That is a great way to run a country. A responsible Minister, after listening to all the rubbish that was being spoken in the chamber about trade unions, political philosophies and so on, thought it was great and glorious to be able to say to the occupant of the Chair as he left the chamber: ‘Real good stuff; that is the way to do if. This shocked me, as a member who entered this place in 1969. I think I have had a fair education of hard knocks and boots in my day. I have nothing to thank the Government for, nor, I am sure, have the people of this country whom the Government has thrown idle and for whom its only consideration is the payment of a cheque to be delivered by the postman once a fortnight. This is a deplorable and a shocking thing. Government supporters should examine their consciences because all these problems were avoidable. As I see it, all Government supporters are cheap, political tricksters: nothing more and nothing less. Now, take objection to that.


-Order! The honourable member will withdraw that remark.


– I withdraw it. We have seen by the coalition Parties in this House a system of almost political manipulation of people in (he community for their own selfish ends. We saw an example of Government discrimination today in the field of education when we heard the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser). We have seen the Government’s discrimination in regard to migrants. A few years ago the Government opened the flood gates of migration to Australia to satisfy the needs of industry yet it does not give a damn about what happens to these people today. Let the Minister for Customs and Excise walk the streets of Melbourne, in his own State, and see what percentage of migrants are on the dole today because of the Government’s complete lack of understanding of human principles and dignity and its complete lack of planning.

Enough has been said about steel prices in the last couple of days to make any reasonable man sick. It has been said in this chamber that steel prices in Australia compare favourably with prices elsewhere. However, the Government has overlooked the fact that the problems Japan has in producing steel are caused because it must bring its raw materials and 80 per cent of its fuel and energy half way around the world. Yet we have the raw materials right on her doorstep. Should we not be doing better? Should we not have another steel industry to compete against this giant monopoly which markets the basic commodities that we require to enable us to provide a decent standard of living for every man, woman and child who wants to work and who has a right to work? To say that the Government has provided good conditions for people over a period of 22 years is not good enough, as far as I am concerned. When Government supporters talk about percentages, it goes over my head. I am concerned about the people the Government has kicked into the gutter. As a result of its rural policies and the provision of money for rural areas, the Government has allowed country people to sweep the kerbs in provincial cities. This was mentioned earlier today by a speaker on the Government side and it is not good enough. The Government should have a plan for a revival of the economy in the interests of the people in this country.

La Trobe

– It is always a joy to hear the enthusiasm of the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster) and to find how selective he and other members of the Opposition are in what they regard as the causes of unemployment. They accuse the Government of raising only the question of wages when discussing inflationary tendencies and the situation which we now confront. However, it is interesting to listen to members of the Opposition. One would not think there had been a strike in this country in the last year. One would be forgiven for thinking that we had lived in complete industrial peace and quiet, that- production was up and that we were able to produce our goods and sell our goods and bring in the income which is necessary for the expansion of business and for the creation of new jobs so that school leavers can go into industries which are prepared to expand. I think it is reasonable to say that members of the Opposition seem to have in their passion - which I claim to be feigned - a degree almost of glee that here they see a situation that they can really ride on until the next election. I do not think that normal people - the electors of this country - necessarily are impressed when members of the Opposition, while admitting that there is a degree of unemployment today, add to that figure another 40,000 and add to it forecasts of gloom and depression so that anybody who may be thinking of having sufficient confidence to expand their industry to create new industries and new jobs will not take that action until after the next election. By this means the Australian Labor Party hopes to gain office.

It is as well to remember that in 1949, when the Liberal Government took over from a Labor government, unemployment was running at 4 per cent. This was for various reasons - because of the coalminers’ strikes and the other strikes with which the Labor Party had been beset. At least then there was an honest Labor Government which was prepared in some circumstances to take action. But have we heard the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), the honourable members for Sturt and Grayndler (Mr Daly) or any other members of the Opposition who are so concerned about unemployment ever taking a stand against the political and the wildcat strikes which are taking place in Australia? Are they stupid, or do they not realise, that when a business is put out of action because of strikes, money does not come in, employees are not paid, plans for expansion are set back and costs on overseas markets increase? Strikes prevent the expansion of industry and deny job opportunities to people about whom members of the Opposition, with their crocodile tears, talk.

Let us consider some of the strikes that have taken place recently. What was the cause of the last strike of the waterfront union, which my distinguished friend from

Sturt so ably represented? It was a wildcat strike because of the Irish situation. This cost the Australian economy a considerable amount of money. It was not conducted for industrial action and the workers of this country had nothing to gain by the strike. It was called at a moment’s notice and businesses and everybody else were affected. I have a few newspaper extracts relating to strikes in the last month from which I should like to quote, in an article from ‘The Mercury’ of Hobart under the heading ‘Victorian Power Strike’ it is stated:

Effects of the Victorian power workers’ strike are spreading beyond that State and it is certain that many more thousands of unionists in other States not in the slightest involved in the dispute will be without work unless a settlement is reached . . .

Did I hear any member of the Labor Party say anything about that strike? It could be claimed that perhaps the Leader of the Labor Party, Mr Hawke, might have played some part but were those officially elected by the people prepared to make a stand on behalf of the people in New South Wales in the motor industry who were likely to be thrown out of work? Did I hear the honourable member for Grayndler make any statement on behalf of these people? No, Sir, not one bleat. Members opposite know that the higher the unemployment, the more they can confuse the issue and take away the confidence of the business community and others and the greater they can take away the enthusiasm of people who want to invest in this country, the greater will be their chances of success. Indeed, it is only in tragedy that they ever get their opportunity. 1 quote now front an article in ‘The West Australian’ of 19th February. Under the heading ‘Kambalda Ore Shafts Idle’ it is stated:

Underground work at the Western Mining Corporation’s 3 nickle shafts at Kambalda has stopped … A union official declined to say what had caused the strike.

Of course, the public was not let into that one. The Labor Party was silent and more people were forced out of work. I quote a newspaper article of 2nd February under the headline ‘Plunging us into Ireland’s woes’:

In another blatantly political strike, the Seamen’s Union yesterday brought needless inconvenience to passengers arriving from England in the liner ‘Canberra’.

The ostensible reason for yesterday s budden boycott was that ‘many’ of the union’s Irish members came ‘asking us what we were going to do* to protest at the shootings in Londonderry last Sunday.

There was supposedly unemployment. Supposedly, young people were not able to obtain jobs. But the unions had decided to strike. What did the Australian Labor Party do? lt did nothing. Here is a quotation from a newspaper of 11th February 1972 under the headline ‘Union row may cost 900 jobs’:

A union demarcation dispute involving 15 men could cost 900 others their jobs at the Lysaght’s Westernport steelworks. The dispute began in September last year when plumbers objected to metal trades workers- installing large pipes.

Here was a strike where 900 people could have been thrown out of work. Did the honourable member for Grayndler say anything about that? 1 have no doubt that he will get up with his wit and Irish charm shortly and treat us to repartee which will be second only to that of Liberace. But did he ever say anything on behalf of those thrown out of work? A newspaper article of 7th February 1972 stated:

The director of information of the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures, Mr John Stephens, said thai industry’s lost production bill hit the $20m mark today.

Has anybody from the Labor Party said anything about this? Indeed, did anybody say that if this money is lost to industry it has less opportunity of expanding, putting people into business and giving them jobs? Are honourable members opposite delighted about that? Do they think that industry can take these losses, still pay the extra wages and meet the cost of non production when unions call wild cat strikes? An article of 41 h February 1972, under the headline ‘589,800 days lost in disputes’ stated:

Working days lost through industrial disputes in Victoria last year jumped bv 28.9 per cent on 1970 figures.

Do we hear anything about that from the Opposition? Do we hear the Leader of the Opposition, that wizard at quoting inaccurate figures, state anything in respect to these figures? Ls he concerned? Does he wonder or worry about the hours lost and what this costs the nation? Does he realise that this nation has to compete with other nations in competitive markets in the world? Does he realise that businesses have to compete, one with the other, to gain the money to pay the employees and to give them the advantages they want? Does any member of the Opposition realise that if costs rise time and time again without reason the worker will force himself out of a job because in the end the employer will not be prepared to go on? He is not encouraged to make any expansion. In my opinion, one of the things that has happened in Victoria after the recent State Electricity Commission power strike is that when factories were closed down, not because the employees were members of the union but because the blackout of industry, many employers decided that they would take the opportunity to get rid of those employees who had not been very efficient. The employers decided that they could work more effectively with fewer employees. This is something that the worker of today should consider. I am not saying for a minute that all the faults are on one side. There are faults in the employer organisations; there are faults on both sides. But do not let us hear all the time honourable members of the Opposition saying that the faults are only in one area. I will continue with my quotations. A newspaper article of 4th February 1972 stated: 150,000 put out of work. SEC dispute hits industry.

An article of 5th February 1972 stated:

Ban on phones is off.

In New South Wales, telephones were put out of operation. Business houses could not get their telephones repaired. They were not able to operate. They were not able to make money, pay employees, put on new employees or expand. Does the Australian Labor Party think this has no effect on the prosperity and economy of this country? Or is it only too delighted to see these things happen? Has it made a deal with Mr Hawke, the president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions? Is this part of the tactics of 1972 to bring about an election victory and to bring about hardship to the people of this country? A newspaper article of 25th January 1972 stated:

Wharfies plan wild cat strikes. Sydney faces a series of wild cat waterfront strikes which could spread to all major ports.

On 18 th February 1972 it is stated:

Car men plan action strikes.

A newspaper of 8th February 1972 stated:

Home ga5 converters on strike.

Another newspaper on 8th February 1972 stated:

WWF strike warning.

On 3rd February it is stated:

Port clerks may strike

Anybody listening to honourable members opposite speaking in this debate would think that there were no problems in the industrial area, that the Labor Party was satisfied with the industrial field and that it was satisfied that industry could continue under the conditions of wild cat strikes held throughout the year with or without the condonation of the various unions. That is a false dream and there must be change in the outlook on the part of employers and employees in this country if we are to have a wonderful country. We will not be able to satisfy the needs of the workers unless there is increased productivity. This cannot be brought about by political action or by trying to gain kudos and advantage to elect a government which is more likely, if it were elected, to be controlled by the trade union movement and the radical wing of it than it is by the Parliament. Let me cite the situation in respect of employment. There is no doubt that pockets of unemployment exist in specific industries in this country. There is no doubt that action has to be taken to rectify that. The Government has increased unemployment benefits paid each week, and I support that. But if one travels in various areas and talks to people in business, one finds some amazing things. If one were to go to the seaside resorts and surf beaches to see those riding on surf boards during the school and university holidays, one would find that most of those people had registered for unemployment in the nearest township and were reporting once a week. I was at a meeting last week in Lilydale at which a timber manufacturer and I were talking about unemployment. He said: ‘1 had somebody sent over from the Ringwood employment office. I wanted somebody. I got in touch with the office. A person arrived. I said: “Can you handle a cutting machine?” He said: “Oh, yes, boss, I can handle it but you would not want me”. He said: “If you do not want that, can you stack timber?” He said: “Oh, yes, boss, but you would not want me”.’ In whatever the employer offered, the retort was ‘You would not want me”. That person returns to the employment office and says that the employer did not want him and collects another week’s unemployment benefit. I know of a timber factory in Abbotsford where 2 advertisements were placed in a newspaper purely for hands to be employed in the factory. No skill was required at all. In this case there were 12 replies to the advertisements. I asked the employer what sort of people applied. He said that they were not very good but that he put on two men. He said to both of them, having interviewed them at about 5 o’clock: ‘If you change your mind and do not want the job will you ring me before the morning so I can give the jobs to two other people’. They said: ‘Boss, we certainly will’. At 9 o’clock next morning they did not even bother to turn up. This is a situation which I think exists in certain areas at the moment. We know that contained in the figures that have been announced there are a certain number of people who are disabled, who are fringe cases as to whether they should receive an invalid pension or unemployment benefits. Admittedly, these people represent quite a high percentage of unemployed. Also included in this bracket are a large number of married women. These women have had jobs and should be entitled to have jobs. But I do not suggest, and I do not think it can be suggested, that overall these women are the breadwinners of Australia. I would like all employers, employees, the Opposition and the Government to recognise that we have a problem, ft can be overcome. But it will be overcome only while both sides are prepared to act for the betterment of the country and not for individual gain. How can anyone argue that strikes do not mean loss to the economy or cause those who may wish to start a business to lose confidence? How can we argue that the 35-hour week will reduce the cost of the goods we produce and sell on competitive overseas markets? Are we going to say: ‘All right, we are going to have a 35-hour week and the cost of it must be passed on. It does not matter whether people buy our goods or not because the great Socialist state will not earn money, it will merely print it”? Th’:se are things that the people of Australia should be thinking about at present

Members of the Australian Labor Party more distinguished than those who are here now have had something to say about this subject. A former member for Parkes stated in this House that a level of unemployment of 5 per cent was considered to be a condition of full employment. The Government does not accept that. The Government does have a record of full employment. The Government wishes to continue that record of full employment. But it will not be able to do so while those on the other side of the House, in conjunction with others, are making political capital and encouraging political strikes which can only bring hardship to innocent people and the economy to ruin and chaos. The only people who will gain eventually will not be the members of the Labor Party but those who, in my opinion in certain areas, may be wishing them well.

Mr Wentworth:

– May I have the indulgence of the House to raise a procedural matter. I am told that if this Bill can be introduced into the Senate by 3.45 o’clock there is a possibility that it will be passed immediately so that the increased rates of benefit can be paid this weekend. If the Senate is unable to pass the Bill there will be a delay for another week in paying the increased rates. The Government wants to pay the increased rates as soon as possible. Could I have the co-operation of the House please in getting this Bill passed by 3.45?

Mr Daly:

– I am not in charge of the Bill on behalf of the Opposition. The honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden), who has that responsibility, has left the chamber to collect some papers. He is the person to pass judgment on what the Minister for Social Services has said. However, I would just like to say that the Minister’s statement was difficult to understand. He did not want to continue the debate on this Bill until today. On Tuesday the Labor Party expedited the debate by agreeing to continue it immediately the Minister finished his second reading speech. So we have given the Government 24 hours start on its original intentions. I propose, to speak on this measure and I know that other honourable members also desire to speak on it. If the Minister wanted the increased benefits to be paid by this weekend he should have allowed debate on this legislation on Wednesday in order to ensure that the Bill could be. passed this week. To try to pass the responsibility on to the Labor Party is not only wrong but is rather a mean approach when we have endeavoured to expedite the, passage of the Bill for the Government. I. will say no more than that but will leave other comments to the member in charge of the Bill on behalf of the Opposition.

Mr Hayden:

Mr Deputy Speaker-


– Does the honourable member for Oxley wish to make a statement?

Mr Hayden:

– The Minister wants to finish the consideration of this legislation by 3.45 o’clock?

Mr Wentworth:

– By 3.45 o’clock if we can. The Senate can then pass it so that we can pay the increased rates straight away. It is up to the honourable member. He is entitled to hold it if he wants to.

Mr Hayden:

– Very well. Let it go.


– 1 would like to compliment the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) on the manner in which be presented his amendment. I certainly have much pleasure in supporting it. Since this debate commenced a number of Government supporters have referred to the pre-Menzies days and the days of Ben Chifley. They quoted figures which related to those times. However, those honourable members seemed to forget that the country was passing through a transitional period from war to peace. The Chifley Government certainly instituted in this country a policy of full employment. It has been a policy with which no government until now has been prepared to tinker. This policy has been maintained over the years because governments have known that if it is not maintained and if people have to accept growing unemployment Ministers will be tossed out of office. This is the way things are going now.

The level of unemployment has increased to 130,000 persons. We do not know what the figures will be at the end of February. By the time the election comes around the people will have had enough of this Government and will toss it out of power. A lot of red herrings have been thrown across the pathway in regard to Bob Hawke, Leslie Haylen and so forth. I believe that the diversions have been a lot of rubbish. I think that in our present day society the unemployment that has developed has been brought about by deliberate acts of Government. It is a deliberate result of the last Budget. I do not think there is any question about this.

The honourable member for Hume (Mr Pettitt) said that the Australian Labor Party was interested in seeing a condition of growing unemployment. To him I say that members on this side of the House usually represent lower paid groups and probably come into contact with more unemployment than do honourable members from the other side of the House. We are fully aware of the effects of unemployment. Every one of us would look with compassion on anyone who was unfortunate enough to be out of a job. To say that the Labor Parly is trying to make political capital out of unemployment is absolute rubbish.

I would now like to say something about conditions in South Australia. As all honourable members know, industry in South Australia is connected mainly with the production of consumer durables such as motor cars, refrigerators and so forth. As soon as the eastern States sneeze in regard to money South Australia catches a cold. This State feels the pinch because its industries are so closely tied up with the consumer durable industries. This is why South Australia is the first State to be hit. The Premier of South Australia is to be commended on his action to try to broaden this base so that South Australian industry is not completely tied to these consumer durable industries and is better able to absorb any effects of a tightening of the economy.

The unfortunate thing is that the consumer durable industries in South Australia are those which employ a large number of migrants. These are the people who have been hit worst by the present growing unemployment. The Federal Government has been carrying out a migration programme and bringing people to this country. I understand that it is putting big. flashy advertisements in newspapers in London. Migrants come here and obtain jobs in the factories of General MotorsHolden’s, Chryslers and others. However, they are there at the whim of the employer. As soon as there is a tightening of economic conditions, they are the first people to be placed on the labour market. They are the people least equipped to handle this situation. That is the position in South Australia. We certainly hope that it does not get any worse. Certainly some action has to be taken by the Government to get these industries back on their feet. I hope that this takes place quickly. If it does not, the Government knows perfectly well that the people will not stand for it any longer, and will put in a government that will restore the employment situation.

Perhaps we can look at another section of our unemployed population. I refer to Aborigines who are in the underprivileged section. For them the amount of work available in rural areas is a lot greater than it is in city areas. I know that in my own area there is quite a number of Aborigines. Many have come into the Port Augusta area because of a slackening of employment in the rural industries and others because of a slackening of work in the cities. We have a growing number of young unemployed people. Most of them have not come in from the scrub. They have had a reasonable education, have knocked around and have had jobs. It is those people who are feeling the pinch in my area. One other area is the city of Port Pirie where the number of unemployed has trebled in the last 3 months. I know that this area contains a fair amount of the hinterland of Port Pirie, but this is the figure. The figure has trebled since the end of November. It has risen from about 300 to 910.

I know that the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) wants to have this Bill passed promptly. 1 say definitely that I deny what was said by the honourable member for Hume and the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess) about the Labor Party’s attitude. The Labor Party does not want to see unemployment. I say this because of our close association with the people who are affected by unemployment. I speak of the effect on their children, their inability to pay for the education of their children and all the many associated heartbreaking problems. However, as I said, I know that the Minister wants to have the Bill passed by the House. Perhaps I should close on that note. I hope that this Mouse sees fit to support the amendment which has been moved by the honourable member for Oxley.


- Mr Speaker, I wish to support the amendment moved by the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) on behalf of the Opposition. I believe that it represents the real opinions of the Australian people in regard to providing increases in social welfare benefits. I have studied the proposals that are before the House, and at a time when 130,000 people are unemployed - an increase of 46 per cent since last year - the Government has increased unemployment benefits by the miserable amount of $7 a week. In making a study of unemployment benefits one finds that there have been 5 increases in unemployment benefits in 23 years. The Government has thought so much about the unemployed in the last 23 years that the average increase in benefits has been 63c. In all that time the Government has increased the wife’s allowance by only 21c a week, and on this occasion it has not bothered to increase it from the existing rate of $8 a week. Today, at a time when we are told average wages are $90 a week, this Government expects a man to live on $17 a week. That in itself is scandalous in the extreme, and there can be no justification for the smallness of this increase.

It is significant that until men and women are suffering the Government does not bother about unemployment relief. It was only in 1962, when the Government went within one seat of defeat because of (he unemployment situation, that it increased unemployment benefits after a period of 4 years. There was no increase in unemployment benefits between 1949 and 1952. Another 5 years elapsed before there was another increase in unemployment benefits, and then another 4 years elapsed before a further increase was given. Then there was a gap of 7 years before there was a further increase in unemployment benefits, and then the increase was given only because the Government was frightened of defeat. It has been 3 years since the last increase was made.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– Has the cost of living remained stationary?


– As everyone knows, the cost of living has been increasing constantly. This shows that the Government’s approach to this matter is paltry in the extreme. Let us compare the Government’s approach to this matter with its approach to increasing the salaries of High Court judges. On the last occasion that the salaries of High Court judges were reviewed, the Government increased them by the princely sum of about $20 a day, or about $130 a week. There are double standards right through society under this Government. There is one law for those who have nothing and another law for the wealthy.

On Tuesday the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) got up in this chamber and in a rambling, rabble rousing speech told us about communism and other matters without getting down to the fact that this Government has neglected the economy, it has failed to provide employment and now reduces people to the position where they have to live on unemployment benefits which are 30 per cent below the poverty level. Therefore, no credit can be given to the Minister in this regard. This morning the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) said that the Minister’s heart was in the right place. His heart might be in the right place, but it does not coincide too well with his mind on these questions. He is just talking and doing nothing in a practical way about these matters.

The Government says that unemployment has been caused because of the communists. Fancy the members of the Australian Country Party attacking the communists. They have made millions of dollars out of wheat and wool sales to communist countries. But now because they cannot sell their wheat to the communist countries they have turned on their friends, the communists. Now members of the Country Party blame the communists for everything that is happening. One of the reasons why the present unemployment situation has arisen is because companies, like Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd which makes huge profits of $68m per annum, are increasing their prices to such an extent that it is impossible for people to work and to maintain their family at a decent standard of living.

Today we saw the launching of the Liberal Party’s campaign against the Australian Labor Party - references to strikes and communists. Why would not men strike when everything they want at the present time is increasing in price because of the recent price increase made by BHP? These people are expected to live on the same level of wages when there are increases of 10 per cent, 15 per cent and 20 per cent in the price of every basic commodity into which steel goes. These are the facts behind the present unemployment situation. Men strike today because they cannot live under the economic policies to which this Government is giving effect. I say to honourable members opposite: lt is all very well to rant and rave about strikes, trade unionists and communists, but the real reason why prices are high has nothing to do with strikes and very little to do with communists. Prices are high because of the actions of those who exploit and profiteer - companies like BHP and others which are the darlings of this Government. Increasing costs are causing dissatisfaction and ultimately Australia will be priced out of the markets of the world because of the greed and desire for profit of these companies.

I cannot help but think that with 130,000 people unemployed today, any self-respecting government would resign. The country is crying out for hospitals, schools and development. In every field of national endeavour there is scope within which to provide work in plenty. This could be done if only the Government had an economic policy which provided work. Today one out of every 2 children leaving universities and schools cannot obtain a job under this Government. It gives them a miserable few dollars a week in unemployment benefits to live on and sends them into the gloom of unemployment. I lived in the depression years. I remember the time when one out of every 3 people in this country was out of work, and I never want to see that again.

For the Government to say that the Labor Party seeks to get into office through exploiting the unemployment position is scandalous and contemptible in the extreme. No-one seeks government on the basis of poverty. All that we on this side of the chamber seek to do is to sheet home to the Government its responsibilities in the field of economic policy which has caused the present state of affairs. What we on this side of the chamber seek to do is to maintain what the Chifley Government established in this country - full employment. Until it was defeated that Government maintained full employment. What that Government created has now been destroyed by the present Government, and I will tell honourable members why it has been done, lt has been done because the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) said: ‘Men are working harder today. They are not changing their jobs so much. They do not want to create discontent in industry, no matter how just their case. We have achieved our objective, what we set out to do. There are more men outside the gates looking for jobs than there are jobs.’ By sheer economic pressure and suffering, these people have been forced into the position where they receive a day’s pay not for a fair day’s work but for twice a fair day’s work. In that way efficiency is introduced in industry. The vicious pattern of tory governments of past generations is as existent within the confines of this Government as it was in any of its infamous predecessors. For honourable members opposite to criticise men who strike for justice, men who in many instances, by resorting to strike tactics, were responsible for many of the reforms which people in Australia enjoy today, does little credit to the Government.

Was it not shameful the other night to see the Minister, without a case to put, come into this chamber and spend twothirds of his time talking about communism and all these other things - anything but the actual measure before the House? When he announced the increases in unemployment benefits he said that they would be increased to the princely sum of $17 a week. Just think that today under this Government a youth is expected to live on $7.50 a week if he is out of work. If he is aged between 18 and 20 years he can receive $11 a week in unemployment benefits. What a magnificent performance in a time of unemployment. I wonder whether any honourable member opposite has ever realised what it is like to be out of work; to see the degradation that comes to a person who cannot get a job and to see how his whole life is spoilt - at the beginning of his life if he happens to be young.

The Government would not have moved to increase unemployment benefits if an election had not been pending. I give a warning to honourable members opposite. Thank God that today the Australian people expect full employment. The last occasion on which this Government almost met its political doom was at a time when 100,000 people were walking the streets out of work. Like the Labor Party, the Australian people demand that people have the right to work. They demand the right to show their ability and to utilise their arts and crafts so that they may live in security. This Government has increased unemployment benefits - miserable as they are - not only because it knows they are justified and necessary, but also because the people demand it.

I do not want to speak at greater length as the Bill is to go to another place within a couple of minutes. But I do not believe the reason which the Minister gave for sending the Bill to the other place so quickly. The increased payments can be made retrospectively. Increases in judges’ salaries were made retrospectively. Why cannot unemployed people receive, their miserable $7 a week increase retrospectively? As I say, there is one standard for one section and another standard for others. The reason why the Minister wants to get this Bill passed is that he does not want further criticism of the Government’s proposals from this side of the chamber. He wants to stifle criticism. Honourable members opposite have talked about communism and everything except the real reason why unemployment exists, and the Minister does not want to reply to the criticism.

I summarise my views in this way: It is a miserable increase. It is long overdue, but it should be more in line with the proposals contained in the amendment moved by the honourable member for Oxley. I say that the real cause of unemployment is the failure of this Government in the economic field and its failure to provide in a sound and sensible way a policy that will maintain full employment throughout the community. I support the amendment and condemn the miserable increase. However, we will take it because any morsel from this Government must be accepted.

Amendment negatived.


– The question now is: ‘That the Bill be read a second time’.

Mr Hayden:

– We moved an amendment and we wish to vote on it.


-Order! I advise the honourable member for Oxley that I put the question: That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question’.

Mr Hayden:

– But you rushed through it.


-Order! I paused to see whether the Opposition wanted a division.

Mr Hayden:

– 1 would like to move that it be recommitted. -These are only delay-

Sir Alan Hulme:

– ing tactics.

Mr Hayden:

– No, they are not.

Mr Chipp:

– I think it was a genuine oversight on the part of the Opposition. As a matter of principle the Opposition wants to vote on the amendment and 1 ask your indulgence, Sir, to put the question again.


-The question is:

That the words proposed to be omitted aland part of (he question.

The House divided. (Mr Deputy Speaker-Mr P. E. Lucock)

AYES: 56

NOES: 52




Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Amendment negatived.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.

Third Reading

Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.

Bill (on motion by Mr Wentworth) read a third time.

page 247



- Mr Deputy Speaker, I seek an opportunity to clarify a statement I made last night concerning Mr Santamaria, Mr Maher and Mr Mitchell. I do this in justice to a man who has sent me a telegram. There are more Mr K. Mitchells in the world than one and the man who sent me the telegram I hold is Keith Mitchell. Secretary of the Hospital Employees Federation of Australia, Victorian No. 1 Branch. The K. Mitchell to whom I referred is Ken Mitchell. I spoke to Mr Deputy Speaker about this and he said that this would be the opportunity to read the telegram and put the record straight. The telegram reads:

Seeking your kind assistance clarification reference K. Mitchell Parliament yesterday. I was 11 years of age in 1942 and 16 years of agc end of war. As prominent Victorian trade union secretary have suffered loss damage embarrassment and distress by, widespread assumption I am parson you mentioned. Earnestly seek your kindness generosity in prompt clarification. Also distressed as am not and never will be anti-Labour. Regards . . . Keith Mitchell Secretary Hospital Employees Federation of Australia Victorian Number One Branch lt was not Keith Mitchell to whom 1 was referring. I know Keith Mitchell well and esteem him very much. I also had a telephone conversation with a professor at Monash University who told me that he and 2 other professors objected to certain things which I said about Mr Frank Maher and they are writing a letter to the Melbourne ‘Age’ tomorrow. They say - and I think in justice to Mr Maher that I should mention what was told to me for the first time - that he has 2 sons who were knocked about in a motor accident and were not eligible for service in Vietnam. He has another son who is a doctor and who served for a period in Vietnam. 1 stand by everything else I said but I must do justice to those who feel they have been wronged in any way.

page 247


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 1 1 November (vide page 34 1 8) on motion by Mr Nixon:

That the Bill be now read a second lime.


– The purpose of this Bill is to make specific amendments to the Dairy Produce Export Control Act and to clarify provisions of the Act regarding the investment behaviour of the Australian Dairy Produce Board. In other words, it seeks to clarify the existing investment provisions as they apply to the Board’s capacity and ability to invest in projects outside Australia. The amendments are concerned principally with the stand taken by the Dairy Produce Board in the early 1960s with respect to the establishment of joint venture re-combining plants in South East Asia. These plants were, of course, of a commercial nature. This type of venture is to be commended because the Board has shown initiative in trying to diversify its markets for a difficult product, a product which had all the earmarks in recent years of being oversupplied.

Mr Jeff Bate:

– But not now.


– I will deal with that in a moment. Even though the product may be oversupplied in some markets, the Board should be congratulated for the initiative it took almost 11 years ago to diversify into markets other than the traditional market in the United Kingdom, particularly when at that point of time and since then there had been warnings given of the inevitable joining of the European Economic Community by Great Britain. This is an example of an industry which has tried to get out and sell its products. As the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) said in his second reading speech, it was a far-sighted action which we in this Parliament should recognise. We should also take action to facilitate steps by the Australian Dairy Produce Board to explore, develop and maintain markets overseas, particularly in those areas which we recognise as our best market potential - areas such as in Asia. The problem as I see it here is that there has been some restriction placed on the limits of financing applicable to the Board in that it has to rely principally on funds accredited to the account from contracts with Great Britain made after the last war. Because the Board is adopting an aggressive programme of selling it will need more finance, especially more readily available finance. Therefore, this amendment will allow moneys within the Australian Dairy Produce Board’s account to be utilised for the exploration and development of new markets. I can assure the House that the Opposition supports the amendment because it believes that boards such as this which are prepared to get out and sell should be given every opportunity and encouragement to do so. The Board will be able to use moneys in its account other than, of course, moneys borrowed to acquire equity capital.

The point made by the honourable member for Macarthur (Mr Jeff Bate) is well taken. The dairying industry has been in serious trouble over the years due to an oversupply, principally of butter, and it was for this reason that the Board made efforts to diversify and to find new markets in developing areas. But what are the reasons for the increased prices of dairy products at the present time, especially butter? They are not hard to find. It is a question of supply and demand. There is a shortage of dairy products caused by a reduction in the production of milk in Western European countries plus, of course, reduced exports of dairy products from New Zealand and Australia. There has been a significant decline in milk production in the EEC as well as a significant decline in butter production. In fact, EEC stocks of butter have fallen from 330,000 tons in mid-1970 to 62,000 tons towards the middle of 197 J. I understand that although there are signs of stimulation of dairy production the stocks are still at relatively low levels. This, together with an increase in consumption in the world due to increasing population rather than increasing per capita consumption, has meant that there must be only one result - an increase in the price of butter. We have seen a remarkable increase from mid-1970 to the end of 1971 in the price of Australian butter from f stg3 10 per ton to in excess of £stg500 per lon at the moment. This is the effect or’ supply and demand. We also know that just as quickly as production can go down, over a time it can go up, although not as quickly as could a cash crop. It takes time to breed a calf and get it into production.

We must look also at the consumption of dairy products in Australia. It is pleasing to see that the aggregate consumption of dairy products in Australia is increasing. O’ne would expect this with an increase in population. However, there has been and still is a decline in butter consumption. Butter production is relatively stagnant, but the per capita consumption of butter in Australia is decreasing. Ten years ago the consumption of butter was 25 lb a head. Today it is 20 lb a head. On the other hand, there is apparently a significant increase in the per capita consumption of cheese in Australia. In the last 10 years this has increased from 6 lb a head to 8 ib a head. That may not seem a lot, but in terms of aggregate consumption it is. In terms of per capita consumption it represents an increase of 33i per cent. I think that the per capita consumption of cheese will increase significantly in the future. There seems to be a change in the trend of consumption habits.

The per capita consumption of condensed milk is fairly stagnant, but because of the increase in population there has been an increase in the total consumption. This can be expected to continue to increase. In dried milk products, such as powdered full cream milk and milk for infants and invalids, we see a significant increase not only in total consumption but also in per capita consumption. The increase in the per capita consumption is almost SO per cent. This shows the changing trend in the consumption of dairy products in Australia. But what about the future, which, after all, is the basis for the amendment? The part of the amending Bill which I regard as most important is sub-clause (ii) of clause 3 (c), which reads: (if) to expand existing markets or to secure new markets for dairy produce.

This is germane to the entire Bill. Unless we can expand existing markets or secure new markets for dairy produce inevitably the dairy industry will face a very serious future when Britain joins the Common Market. I do not think that anybody would argue positively that we will retain a significant share of the European Economic Community market. The enlarged EEC will include Denmark and Ireland. As I see it, over a time Australia will lose the British market for butter and cheese. What are the alternative markets? T suppose one could argue that the EEC might lose markets in Asia and South America and we may have a chance of getting into those markets. But dr> not let us forget that one of the most aggressive exporters is on our doorstep T refer to New Zealand. That country will be well aware of those markets which the EEC might lose in the event of concentrating on self sufficiency itself.

I could be wrong but I think that there is a good future for Australian cheese. With good promotion and aggressive selling techniques we have an excellent chance of increasing our exports of cheese, particularly to Japan and other Asian countries. The prospects for increased butter exports to Asia must be looked at very carefully. Most of Asia consists of low income areas. We know from experience that the low income areas are not the areas that consume significant amounts of butter. It is the rich industrial areas that are the main consumers of butter By their integrated agricultural and industrial policies they are the same countries in which secondary industry is subsidising self-sufficiency under the common agricultural policy of the EEC, for example, as an integral part of their agricultural policies.

The Australian Dairy Produce Board has recognised the problem. Its exports of anhydrous milk fats and skim milk have been of benefit, not only as a commercial venture but also in setting up valuable contacts between Australia and the Asian countries. The joint venture milk recombining plants in Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia have established an Australian mark in those areas. The Board is to be congratulated because by the establishment of these joint venture industries the Australian name is known. Australia is supplying the great majority, or certainly a significant proportion, of the raw materials for these recombining plants. Even though we have no equity in the Singapore plant we are supplying a significant proportion of the raw materials. I believe that there will be more joint ventures of this kind. Provided they are profitable in the longer term - not necessarily from the short term, infant industry approach aspect - they should be supported.

It must be admitted that the profitability of establishing plants in these low income countries is not as great as that of selling butter and cheese products to the richer industrial countries like the United Kingdom. But let us look at some of the figures. In 1970-71 exports of skim milk powder and anhydrous milk fat to the Asian countries for recombining totalled $31,000 and $8,100 respectively, compared with $27,500 and $6,800 in 1969-70. The point I am making is that although we hope to encourage this type of activity we must recognise, and the industry must recognise, that this is not as profitable as exporting butter to the United Kingdom. For example, in 1970-71 the average f.o.b. value of exports of skim milk powder and anhydrous milk fat to South East Asian countries was $178 a ton and $474 a ton respectively, compared with $204 a ton and $528 a ton to other markets. There is a significant difference between them. We must accept this. At least we have the markets for the time being. At least we know that there is a potential. 1 am one who believes that there is a very great potential for milk products, protein products, in Asia. I believe also that once Australia can normalise its relationships with China there will be excellent opportunities for Australia to send raw materials to China.

Mr Sinclair:

– Dairy products?


– Yes, protein products. When 1 was in China I found that in the densely populated areas such as Cantin, Shanghai and Peking milk products were a scarce commodity. The people wanted protein. As one can appreciate, in a country like China there is a definite limit on livestock production, particularly of the dairy type. I believe that over a period of time, as the standard of living of the people there increases, there will be a significant market for protein products. The cold facts are that the dairy farmers have to be told the truth about the future. It is no good the Government or any other organisation painting a rosy picture or otherwise unless it relates to the facts. When we see a very large proportion of our products going to the United Kingdom, with the possibility that this market will be lost, we must accept the seriousness of the position. 1 do not take the gloomy approach that a lot of people take, of saying that we have no alternative but to reduce our production significantly. I do not believe in this at all. Because of the dynamic changes in the international trading policies of other countries in regard to agricultural products. Australian rural industries - in this case the dairy industry - must adopt or continue to adopt aggressive selling policies. We know that in Asia, right on our doorstep, there is a future for protein products like dairy products. This is where we have to be aggressive. As regards agriculture generally, the complacent and traditional selling methods by which established markets are taken for granted or foreign buyers are expected to come to Australia to purchase their requirements must be radically altered. I refer particularly to the wool industry. At least the dairy industry is getting out and selling.

World trade, as we know, is dynamically changing. At present it is divided into powerful economic trading blocs dominated by the European Economic Community,

Japan, the United States of America and the communist group. I think the slogan Get out and sell’ which underlines the basic premise of marketing policies for secondary industry has to be applied more and more to our primary industries. We cannot sit down and wait for the buyers to come to Australia. Nor can we sit down and rely on traditional markets as we have done over the years. It is clear that those countries which have the greatest potential to pay for Australia’s primary products are also the richest industrial nations. As I have said before, provided the natural resources are there all these rich industrial nations have a policy of self sufficiency with a barrier of high tariffs on imports of primary products. Australia has to recognise this factor and we will have to be more aggressive and get out into the low income countries and assist them to establish plank as the Australian Dairy Produce Board is doing in joint venture operations, and then over a period develop and maintain the markets.

Australia’s rural industries must not adopt a defeatist attitude. While we recognise the problems facing the EEC in regard to Australia’s position we cannot afford to just give that market away. We have to use everything in our power - politics or whatever it may be- to try to retain the biggest share that is possible in our traditional markets, and we have to recognise the potential for developing markets in Japan and Asia. To give specific examples I refer to the Australian sugar and beef industries. They have not lost any opportunity in the post-war years to take every possible advantage of international trading agreements or arrangements to get out and sell their products. They are backed by powerful selling agencies, whether we like them or not, such as the Colonial Sugar Refining Co., Vesteys, Swift Aust. Co. Pty Ltd and Thomas Borthwick and Sons (Australasia) Ltd. We must accept the fact that they are highly efficient and have top men trained in their particular specialist fields.

I refer to these 2 industries because today they are viable and one of the reasons for their viability is that they have sound organisation. The sugar industry has a marriage of government regulations contolling the production and export of sugar with high level marketing agencies. The

Wheat Board has recognised that it must got out and sell, ft has recognised the cutthroat tactics used in the sale of grain in the international market. These industries must get out and sell. The Dairy Produce Board is adopting constructive selling policies and other industries must follow suit. At the other end of the extreme we have the tragic example of the wool industry, which is complacent in the extreme, archaic in its marketing methods, and a tragedy in terms of marketing compared with the other more dynamic industries. The wool industry waits for the buyers to come to this country to buy the product. It refuses to accept dynamic changes in international marketing. It has refused to accept dynamic changes in terms of competition with synthetics until it has almost become too late and it may have to start almost from scratch to build up the sound promotion of wool. I have given these simple examples of the 2 extremes.

The Government itself must abandon its complacent attitude with respect to some industries, particularly dairying in general and the fruit industry, because these industries must find new markets. They must try to maintain some of their existing markets otherwise in the future they will be in serious trouble. It is of no use to say that they will not be in trouble. It is of no use to procrastinate. They must have markets. We must get out and sell.

In this respect I believe that there is an urgent need for a drastic overhaul of the trade commissioner service as it applies to Australian agricultural exports. I am not in any way condemning the calibre of the trade commissioners. I am simply saying that these are specialised fields of selling a particular product whether it be cheese, a type of meat or a particular grade of sugar. We must have experts in these fields who will get out and sell the product. This is why I believe there is a need for a drastic overhaul of the trade commissioner service with a view to giving it more teeth by making available more experts in the field of agricultural marketing whether they be technicians or marketing specialists, just as secondary industry itself would do in getting out and selling its product. The great primary industries must do this. I do not think that at any other time in Australia’s history have some industries had to face such a crucial situation. Their entire future depends upon their ability to sell in new markets. To adopt a defeatist attitude is not the way to solve their problems. When one travels in other countries, particularly Asian countries, one must accept the fact that there is this market potential. It is a question of being able to organise the sale of our products and to take advantage of this potential.

I do not want to say anything more on this subject except that the Opposition supports the initiative that the Australian Dairy Produce Board has taken in the last 11 years. I might add that even in respect of the current high price of butter the Board, in my opinion, has done the right thing. It has attempted to fulfil its obligations to the South East Asian recombining plants. The Board did not say: ‘Leave them alone for the time being and let us get into the more lucrative markets’. It has attempted to keep good faith in Asia. I feel that this is something that ought to be recognised. Here we have a primary industry board which has taken the initiative to diversify and to have joint ventures particularly with low income countries to promote Australian products and to develop a sound fundamental liaison between Australia and Asian countries.


– I am pleased that the Opposition is evidently going to support this Bill. This will be a source of pleasure to many people on this side of the House even if it makes the debate a little less exciting. The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Dairy Produce Export Control Act 1924-1966 to clarify the general provisions that give the Australian Dairy Produce Board specific power to participate in commercial ventures as a means of expanding existing markets or securing new markets. The Board will also be enabled *o use funds in its account other than funds borrowed from the Reserve Bank, to acquire equity capital if need be. and indeed to make loans.

The Bill also refers to the reconstitution of milk plants which the Australian Dairy Produce Board has established in many countries throughout Asia. These plants include the Thai Dairy Industry factory in Bangkok; Indomilk in Djakarta: Marikina in Manila; a milk factory established in Singapore which I gather has now been disposed of but to which we are still supplying raw materials; and Sokilait which is one of the more recent ones set up in Phnom Penh. Cambodia.

The purpose of these factories and the philosophy behind the establishment of them I intend to refer to in a little while, but before I do that I would like to take up what was perhaps the most interesting part of the speech of the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson), when he tried to look into the future to see what it held for the dairying industry. 1 agree with the honourable member that the industry must be looked at in this sort of context. I think I would mirror the honourable member’s remarks fairly accurately, but I am perhaps a little more optimistic. I say this although in the last week there has been an emerging problem of surpluses cropping up in European Economic Community areas. For instance, the latest figures I have, which 1 gather reached Australia only this week, show estimated surpluses in Germany this year of 39,000 tons of butter, in France of 124,000 tons and in Holland of 102,000 tons. These are facts that we must take note of and treat seriously.

On consideration it seems fairly obvious that if in years to come Britain does become an integral part of the EEC, these countries plus other countries such as Denmark will take up the slack in the big import market of London. Logically they will take up this slack. These countries will supply that market and there will be barriers which will make it very difficult for other countries to take much part in the traditional market in London. But the other side of the argument is that markets such as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, in which we have been competing with prices that we have got used to regarding as semi-dumping prices, would be deprived of that source of butter and other dairy lines. Therefore one would imagine that those markets would be more readily available to the closer supplies of New Zealand and Australia.

I am optimistic. I think that this build up in butter stocks, which is estimated only, is quite logical if in future this problem of shortage of supply from the EEC countries to the United Kingdom is to be overcome. It is interesting to have a look at the price range on that market. The price has jumped, as we have seen in the last 12 months. It has gone from $378 a ton to $589 a ton. That is an enormous jump, a jump that is even more amazing when, as far as one can tell, the economists of the world were unable to prophesy that this would be so. As far as 1 can tell, almost every expert in the land was unable to show us that there was going to be this huge increase in demand for our products. I suppose we will continue to be amazed by our lack of knowledge of market trends from time to time.

But this huge rise from $378 to $589 has brought difficulties in its wake, not the least of which is that the sales of butter in the United Kingdom today, as a direct result of these violent price fluctuations, have fallen by 25 per cent. On the one hand we have looked at the United Kingdom market as being the major market in the world for our butter exports, and on the other hand, owing to these fluctuations, we see a 25 per cent diminution in sales of butter on that market. The British have tended, through the normal mechanisms of competition, to buy an alternative at a cheaper price. It remains to be seen whether when prices drop, as inevitably they will, any of this 25 per cent, or how much of that 25 per cent, comes back into the consumer market for butter.

The honourable member for Dawson also mentioned the trends in Australia. He mentioned, for instance, that in 3 years the consumption of butter per head in this country has gone from 25 lb to 20 lb. He mentioned the upward trend in cheese consumption and he said that consumption of powdered milk products was comparatively stable. 1 may have been doing something else but I did not hear him mention the fact that demand per head for liquid milk also is comparatively uniform. The trends represent growth and good prices in the industry, and one would anticipate that this will continue to be so. So we reach the stage where we study in depth, or try to, in this House, the efforts of the Australian Dairy Produce Board in the establishment of these reconstitution plants. Apparently the subsidiary of the Board in relation to their establishment is Asia Dairy Industries Co. of Hong Kong, and this virtually is the ‘parent’ of all these reprocessing and reconstituting plants. Their future depends largely on their importance to the industry, on how much raw material they demand as plants and the prices that can be gained for this Australian export of the raw material.

I regret that I have not had a chance to show the honourable member for Dawson one or two tables that I had in mind to incorporate in the course of my speech. However I showed them to the Minister who was at the table and to the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby). Perhaps the honourable member for Dawson would agree to my use of the charts I have received from the Australian Dairy Produce Board. He might be good enough to consult the honourable member for Riverina before I need to use them. The first one, which deals with quantities and prices, is really an effort to refute some of the rather damaging statements that have appeared in the agricultural Press in relation to these milk plants in recent weeks. For instance, the estimated 12 months requirement for skim milk of the TDI, which I mentioned a little while ago, is 8,000 tons at $368 a ton, giving a return to the industry of $2,944,000. The requirements of the various other factories are listed in this table. It shows an overall weighted average price of $362.26 a ton f.o.b. after deducting $8 per ton under the Australian Dairy Industry Council conditions. This gives some idea of the tremendous worth of the project to the Australian dairying industry. I seek leave of the House to have that table incorporated in Hansard.


Is leave granted? There being no objection leave is granted. (The document read as follows):

Any effect of higher prices on consumption levels would in turn affect above tonnage quantities.


– The industry itself has given a concessional price of S50 a ton on exports of milk powder. This depreciated price, as it must be once this concessional price has been given for this purpose, has been criticised very heavily in the agricultural Press in some areas as being against the interests of dairy farmers themselves. Before I move away from this matter of quantities and prices in this field, I want to make the point that the price nevertheless is higher than the home market price for skim milk, which of course usually is higher than the export price anyway. Although the industry has made a donation to the viability of these plants it still is receiving a return which, in another age and day would be well received as a reasonably equitable price. It will be no surprise to honourable members who take note of dairying matters that these conditions do not apply today because, for the first time on the London market, the price of butter is higher than the cost of production. For the first time on the London market the price is higher than the home price in Australia These, of course, are remarkable changes and are worth commenting upon in passing. In fact, I think it is also noticeable that the economists of the nation now are looking at the dairying industry for the first time as a valuable export earner of the future. Several studies have been undertaken along these lines to try to establish that point of view. I think that this must be qualified with a touch of realism when we think about the London market, but I expect that figures I intend to supply on this matter will give substance to the argument.

The honourable member for Dawson also mentioned the determined efforts of the industry to try to reverse market trends and diversify production. 1 seek leave of the House to incorporate in Hansard figures from 1964-65 to 1970-71 showing statistically the trends away from our. dependence on Great Britain as an export market.


– leave is granted. Is leave granted? There being no objection, (The document read as follows):


– I thank the. honourable member for Dawson and the House once again for their courtesy.

Mr Cope:

– Do you want to incorporate your photograph, too?


– I think that might spoil a very good speech. The conclusion I wish to draw from the figures is that in 1964, 80 per cent of our exports of commercial butter went to the United Kingdom, while the estimate for this year is about 10 per cent. So, there has been an extraordinarily successful diversification in our commercial butter sales. In fact it has reached the stage today where possibly one-third of our production in this current year is being channeled away from the United Kingdom market. It is difficult to draw proper conclusions from these figures because, as honourable members know, there now is a shortage of supply from Australia to meet world demands. Nevertheless, the figures demonstrate an extremely healthy trend in relation to the realignment of our markets. Returns to industry have been a most important factor and already I have touched on that.

Probably no speech on this subject would be complete, without mention of the problem of pioneer industry status as it affects joint enterprises in the majority of Asian developing countries. By and large they tended to remit taxation and import duties to encourage the establishment of industries in those areas. The period in which these concessions apply varied markedly from one nation to another. For instance, although our plant in Manila has been established for about 2 years, our concessions have ended but I believe it is true to say that we are competitive without any particular advantage from that source. Some years ago I had the opportunity of seeing the establishment of the plants in Singapore and Thailand. In those early years concessions were granted. The advantage we enjoyed from those concessions has now gone but suddenly we find that we are in a competitive position as a result of the loss of those concessions which were granted under what was a pioneer industry scheme. For the first time, we have a problem with prices. At present, the Dairy Board is negotiating with the Parliaments in ‘hose areas to try to overcome this problem. In simple words, what, it means is that whereas from 1965 until the present there were estimated earnings of $9,219,000, for the first time we have a situation where some of these plants are not making a profit for the parent company in Hong Kong. It is to be hoped that the Board will be able to overcome the problem and rationalise the situation. The main difficulty is that Asian countries are not able to comprehend that prices for dairy goods have increased on world markets and that, although we have operated with some concessions in those areas, we have a valid case to increase prices. This, in a nutshell, is the problem that exists today.

Perhaps 1 can conclude my remarks by reminding the House that Asian countries, like all developing countries, want industry. The Australian Dairy Board was almost a pioneer in the field of joint ventures. It provided investment and through that investment, industry for those developing countries. It has been because of great co-operation between those nations and the Australian people that these joint ventures have been established. The goodwill gained undoubtedly has resulted in a sales advantage for Australia. For instance, in Phnom Penh we have virtually no competition - we have almost 100 per cent of the market. In other areas, our share of the market has risen during the last 5 to 6 years from 5 per cent to 60 per cent and, in one instance, ‘o 80 per cent of the total market today. So, in co-operation with those nations we have established a commercial advantage over goods of a similar nature that have to be imported. It has been a most far-sighted scheme and one for which the Dairy Board and the Government, with its backing for this project through the Reserve Bank, can take much credit. Condensed milk is almost a staple diet in some countries today and through these milk processing plants and our exports of butler oil. and skim milk we have been able, with the use of local sugar supplies, to provide a first class quality article for the benefit not only of ‘hose countries which are looking for industry but also of our primary producers.


– As the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Paterson) indicated, this Bill has the support of the Opposition, particularly because we believe in improved marketing initiatives for primary products and, indeed, for all products rather than the current policy which we have had for so long of cutting back and which I have categorised as economic nihilism. The Government has been singularly successful in the dairying industry in its policy of cutting back. Indeed, the Government was so successful that in the course of last year we came within one week of having to import butter for our own tables and for our own purposes. This Bill appears before the House of Representatives against the background of our having to go to Ireland, New Zealand and perhaps to Europe to buy the basic materi als to keep our recombining plants going in Asia, lt is rather ironical when we consider that these plants were an initiative to help us dispose of so-called surpluses. Certainly, they have been a success in many ways. They have shown a profit and I agree with the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) that this is so. They have had difficulties, but that is to be expected in trade and commerce. However the main point is that they have been able to take new initiatives and open in neighbouring countries new trade doors which we badly needed. There is no doubt that the recombining plants have been a success for many purposes, not only for the dairying industry. As I say, it is ironical that they were set up because it was assumed we would have a surplus and that we would continue to have a surplus.

In fact, because of the policies which have prevailed and the cut backs which have been practised, we have to go to other countries to buy the materials to keep our own plants going. That was the situation last year and it is the situation at the present time. There is no doubt in my mind that the dairying industry has been one of the most maligned industries in this country. Even now, it is suggested that it really has no place, that it would be better if it were wrapped up and perhaps phased out. This image has to be overcome. I say with a considerable amount of pride that there is an efficient industry in the southern Riverina. It is an industry that is so efficient that if it were decided to indulge in unrestricted free trade, perhaps between New Zealand and Australia, the southern Riverina and many other efficient dairy areas would out-produce in efficiency and effectiveness the New Zealanders. That is a brave claim to make but it can be sustained.

Mr Nixon:

– It is being brave or stupid.


– The Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon) says that it is rather a stupid statement. It is interesting to look at the figures we have taken out and with which we are satisfied. We are not suggesting that this should be done and we are not putting it forward as a proposal. I am putting that statement forward on the basis that our efficiency can be demonstrated. The comparisons are not by any means odious to our own industry.

Mr Nixon:

– 1 think your colleagues are pretty interested in that proposition. The honourable member wants to watch out.


– One of the points 1 want to stress again is that the malignment of the dairying industry is completely unjustified. Of course, there are areas in the dairying industry which need adjustment. This is a matter of technological change which is necessary in the interests of the people in the industry. But this is not the picture of the industry as a whole. One of the points that should be made in relation to these recombining plants is that they have been operated on a basis which gives self respect to the local populations in Indonesia and in the other Asian nations where they have been established. It not only gives these people an opportunity to gain self respect and a knowledge of trading practices, but also to be a partner and ultimately own the means of production. This is very satisfactory. It is the antithesis of a colonialism with which we want no part.

It is impossible at this stage to see ahead very clearly unless there is more clear decision made by government as to the future and the extent of the dairying industry. For example, it is no use our expanding these initiatives unless the materials are available to supply the recombining plants. Therefore, there is a need for decision at this level. At the present time, we have potential buyers from all parts of the world whom we are knocking back. They are prepared to pay top prices for our butter, cheese, milk powder, casein and our canned milk. But we do not have the material for them. We have been able, through the successful practice of economic nihilism, to manage not to have anything available for sale. If Australia is an exporting country and the dairying industry is an export orientated industry, it is obvious that we must make some decisions about the availability of the basic materials.

An interesting contradiction exists between Government policy and the attitude of some overseas firms which have penetrated the dairying industry. It is rather interesting to find that there is a growing concern about foreign involvement in the manufacturing sector of the Australian dairying industry. British,

United States and Swiss companies in particular have long held pretty substantial stakes in the manufacture and marketing sectors. Until recently, this foreign involvement was reasonably stable. But a considerable movement has taken place. The biggest dairy company in Europe has made its appearance in Victoria. It is about to buy itself a substantial share in Australia’s dairy produce manufacture. It might be asked: Why would that company do that? After all, the picture that has been painted in this Parliament and across the countryside is that the dairying industry in Australia faced a mountain of butter in Europe. Unaccountably that mountain of butter melted rather rapidly. A picture of world surplus was painted. Why would the biggest dairy company in Europe come 12,000 miles to Australia to establish itself here? Let us look at the contrast of its assessment of the situation and the present Government’s assessment of the situation. The head of the firm is Sir James Barker. The firm is called Unigate. It is based in England. I do not know the details of its share holding, but that is its headquarters at the moment. It is one of the biggest dairy and grocery chains in the world. He came to Australia to ask us to produce more. He asked us not to cut back production. This was his message.

Mr Nixon:

– He asked us to produce more what?


– If the Minister is interested in the details of his message, he can see me afterwards and I can arrange for him to have the full statement. Sir James Barker was talking about basic dairy materials. Let me quote his own words. He said, in relation to the world shortage of dairy products that he could not see what will bring about a change in the situation. He said that there was no sign at all anywhere in the world of surplus dairy production. It might be said that here is a foreign enterprise that has come in and is anxious to get its hands on some Australian production.

Mr Nixon:

– That firm has been here for years.


– It has, in fact, just arrived in a major way in the Minister’s State. My main point about tins-

Mr Nixon:

– The firm has been at factories in Gippsland for years.


– I do not mind the interjections from the Minister for Shipping and Transport because 1 know he is very interested in this matter. Is he saying to me that there has been no major new investment in the dairying industry in his area by this firm?

Mr Nixon:

– No, but-


– Of course he is not. The point 1 made is accepted. The main additional point 1 wish to make is that this assessment by this new dominant figure in the Australian dairy scene is that there will be a continuing demand for dairy product. We have seen the enterprise of the French in our area of the world, particularly in Asia. What was his assessment there? His assessment there was that they would not have the continued production to be able to compete in a major way in Asia because the French have a programme in France of cutting the throats of cows.

Mr Lloyd:

– That stopped 2 years ago.


– It has been suggested that the European programme for agricultural reorganisation has come to a standstill. I have had the privilege of working in agricultural areas in Europe. The attempt to equate European agriculture with Australian agriculture is absurd. In many cases, you are faced with strip farming and subsistence farming with no economic base of production. It is not suggested that the governments of Europe and the expanded Common Market will allow that to continue. Of course, they have allowed it to continue so far. But they are now in the process of changing this. If they do not, the people will leave the industry anyway because there has been a dramatic revolution in the European countryside in terms of the way of life. The young people will not be tied to a bunch of sterile cows. So changes are taking place in the European scene of which we have to be aware.

Let us take a look at the penetration of the Australian food industry by overseas interests. Twenty of the top 40 Australian store commodities are now reported to be dominated by foreign capital. Another 8 have a large majority’ of overseas money behind them. We have seen this happen in relation to cheese, margarine and ice cream and we will continue to see more and more of this penetration. At the present time, where co-operatives are operating successfully and find themselves confronted with international and multinational corporations, they are in considerable difficulty because they have not the great range of capital available to them. They have not much capital at all, let alone a range of it. But. of course, a multi-national corporation has a great deal of financial strength. It would not be here if it did not. It comes with a pocketful of money. The Government has to face up to the existence of this body. The Government, if it is the responsible government of this country, has to say what happens when this confrontation takes place. Does the Government just ignore the situation? Does it allow the co-operatives and other segments of Australian industry to be sold up or does it invite the participation of the foreign interests and enjoy their expertise but prohibit the selling out or the taking over of Australian assets? This is a question that has been asked and the Government has to find some answers.

The Opposition has its ‘ principles pretty clear and definite about these things. I suggest that the Government cannot put off very much longer a number of decisions in regard to the dairy industry. One of these is what the Government’s attitude is as a national government when independent segments of the industry are being confronted by multi-national corporations. Has the Government an attitude? If so, what is it? We are talking about combining plants and initiatives in Asia. Have we in fact a policy of maintaining a basic supply of materials which will enable those plants to continue? I ask this because the Government’s policy is to reduce still further - to cut back. This is the only public statement that has been made. This is the understanding of the industry.

Mr Nixon:

– That is a misrepresentation.


– If individual members of the Government do not agree with it I am very much heartened. But I think that they should make their views more widely known.

Mr Nixon:

Mr Deputy Speaker, 1 rise on a point of order. This is sheer misrepresentation of the facts. I am just trying to correct the honourable member for Riverina.


Order! There is no point of order.


- Mr Deputy Speaker, you know that this was not really a point of order. The Minister is being rather disorderly. I forgive him, of course, because he must be one of the guilty men if these things are not corrected. Therefore I invite him, if he has views which are nef in accord with those of the Government, to fight for those views. We will give hint every support and encouragement to stand with the independent Australian dairy industry.

Against this background we are discussing this Bill. The questions that I pose have to be answered. The .honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) was pretty clear on our behalf .that we wanted to see. an extension of trade and commerce, and new initiatives in those 2 spheres.

Mr Nixon:

– The Labor Party is lucky to have you.


– I am- not sure the Government is happy to have the Minister, because he is coming forth as a little rebel. I am delighted to see it. The Minister can join us any time. Turning away temporarily from the Minister for Shipping and Transport. I would like to say that the main point is that we are’ faced with this situation of reduction in basic supply. This reduction has cost us export orders. That fact is known and accepted. We have lost orders because we do not have the production. The future is uncertain because of the Government’s policy of wishing to further reduce and cut back the dairy industry. If the Government has another policy let it tell us what that policy is. Let the Government explain it. I might say in passing that there has been a great deal of concern that the cheese bureau which is wanted by the industry, and which was proposed by the industry, seems to have been discouraged by the Government, perhaps because the Government does not believe that cheese either has a future.

This is a very serious matter for an industry that produces a great deal of employment and provides a sound basis for towns and country cities and is a valuable export industry. Only the other day it became pretty obvious that we were not able to fulfil our obligations to the British market. The honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) said that by a masterly Government plan we had diverted material away from Britain into other spheres. I would like to think that that was so. But in fact that is not the position. We did not and could hot supply the British market to the full extent that was desired because we did not have the material. We needed it for ourselves, to supply ourselves. Had we supplied Britain we would have been importing butter this year. That is the situation and it is not a credit to the Government that we have reached this state of affairs.

The one thing that we must say now, Mr Deputy Speaker, is that the ball is clearly with the Government. The Govern: ment has created the situation. It has caused us to face a crisis of supply for our traditional markets, for. our new markets and indeed for the tables at home. We say that these things have to be resolved. We feel that the new trade initiatives which have been spoken of by the honourable member for Dawson command, or should command, the highest priority. On that basis I support the legislation. I am looking forward very much to the perhaps incipient rebels on my left standing in their places and giving us some support for an industry which has been much maligned and which needs some champions at this time.


– The honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) made it clear that the overriding policy of the Australian Labor Party is public ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. In other words, if you make a mess of it, let the Government do it. Of course, the Government makes a worse mess than you make.

Mr Grassby:

– We have not been in government for 20 years.


– If you let Canberra run Mumimbidgee he would be very sorry.

Mr Grassby:

– Let the honourable member give us an opportunity. His Party has been in Government for 20 years. What has it done?


-Order! The honourable member for Riverina has already spoken. I suggest that the honourable member for Macarthur address his remarks to the Chair.


– That is a good idea; I shall do so. The honourable member for Riverina made the statement that his Party is clear on what it is going to do. Let us look at what has happened to the industry, particularly in dairy production, in a world context. The surplus of the Common Market has fallen from 500,000 ions to almost nothing. At the moment an amount of about 100,000 tons a year is being eroded from this surplus. This means that the Common Market is 100,000 tons a year short of the production required to meet its demand. If this trend continues, in another 5 years the Common Market will be 500,000 tons short of its requirements. So the Common Market will want butter in the future. It will not matter what governments do or what the clever dairy produce boards do. If the Common Market wants butter it will get it and pay for it. Butter is a fairly uniform article.

It is true that world production is falling. I want to apply this theme of falling production to what we are going to do in respect of making large investments in other countries. If we sell butter we have to find a home for the skim milk powder, apart from using this product to feed and produce our own animals. This home, of course, can best be found in India which is so vast that its population increases by the size of the Australian population each year. Strangely enough, the Indians think that Australia and New Zealand have the most efficient dairy industries in the world. In spite of all the arrant nonsense we read in the Press from these clever chaps who write about subsidies, Dr Victor Kurian, who is the Chairman of the Indian Milk Board said: ‘I don’t want to deal with Europe; I want to deal with Australia and New Zealand’. I said to Mr Kurian: ‘But we are told we have an inefficient industry. Why do you think we are efficient?’ He said: ‘Because you have more cows per man than any other country in the world’. Mr Kurian is the chairman of a cooperative in one of the Indian States. The average herd per dairy farmer in his State is li cows. In the Common Market countries the average herd per man is 25, 28 or 30. The number is increasing slightly, but it is still a very small herd. In New Zealand the average herd per man is nearly 100. In Australia the average is 100 cows, but in the Murray-Goulburn Valley area the average would be 75 cows per man.

Mr Lloyd:

– It is above that number now.


– Yes, it is rising because better equipment is being used. In other words, in Australia we have the most efficient dairy industry in the world when we consider the number of cows milked per man - and there are very few other tests which one can apply. These people who are trying to sell articles for publication to the people in the cities talk about inefficient rural industries, including the dairy industry, and they are not looking at the sackings which are occurring at General Motor-Holden’s Pty Ltd and Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd. Why is this? It is because rural industries are not now buying equipment. So rural industries, including the dairying industry, are the target and the butt of these men who sell this rubbish at 7c a copy. This is the kind of thing that is happening in Australia. Let these people talk to the men who have lost their jobs at the Chrysler or Holden works or at the steel works - everywhere where there is unemployment. These people talk about inefficient rural industries simply because farmers are not buying. Farmers are suffering because of the rotten propaganda that is being published and which makes savage attacks on people who do not bother to defend themselves, except when one misguided member gets up in this House and says something about this question.

This is the real malaise. People arc writing these articles about inefficient rural industries because 100,000 farmers in Australia will not spend $20,000 each this year, and that is a lot of money. They will not buy superphosphate, so the Consolidated Fertiliser company lost $16m. It must be putting people off. Farmers are not buying tractors so tractor manufacturers are putting people off. Farmers are not buying agricultural machinery and weedicides for killing blackberries which attract tariff protection of $4,000 a ton. So the people engaged in these industries will suffer. Farmers are not buying new cars, they are not buying the same amount of petrol as they used to buy and they are not buying parts for all their machinery; they are cutting down When Rome failed it was because agriculture failed. Agriculture can fail because of the insidious attacks which are being made on it. That is where the real danger to rural industries lies. I had better not name the men but one can read their articles in various publications attacking rural industries. Members of the Australian Country Party have to get up and defend the rural industries, as also have the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) and the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson). The malaise is the result of the attacks made on the rural industries. 1 come now to selling. We have heard some pious comments about great jobs being done. How do you do a great job? What does selling consist of in simple terms? h does not consist merely of getting an order; it consists of making delivery of high quality commodities and of getting a repeat order. It also consists of getting money for the commodities and then properly paying the people who produce the raw material, not using the money in factories for amortising huge loans and paying interest. This is what efficient selling means. T have yet to convince myself that any board in Australia is an efficient seller. Why is this? It is because we have not got the trained men and because we believe in some outdated theory that we must put producers on to boards. If one looks at the boards about which we are speaking one finds older producers on these boards. They are up to 75 ‘years of age. They are retired dairy farmers. They are extremely good producers, but they have never been trained in marketing. Not one university . in Australia has a faculty of marketing. I think that there is an institute of marketing in Sydney and probably one in Melbourne, but .we are not spending money on the real thing. The Chinese get kicked around at times, but at least they are going through their universities to see what they can cut out. People talk all this rubbish instead of referring to the important things, such as efficient marketing, delivery, adequate payment, packaging, promotion and advertising. I have yet to see people with experience in the«e fields on board1;. When we talk about selling, let us get down to the real heart of the thing.

In this Bill we are providing funds for the Dairy Produce Board to send dairy products to Asia. One of the reasons for doing this is that we have lost our dairy produce trade with Britain, which has joined the Common Market. I am advancing the argument that our markets will be greater than our production. If the 500,000 ton surplus of dairy produce in the Common Market countries is decreasing by 100,000 tons a year, then they will be 500,000 tons short in the next 5 years. They will come to Australia and carry the produce to Europe. They will come to Australia and want to buy our produce but our production will not be sufficient to meet the demand - because of the attacks that are made on rural industries. Conditions in industry are so good that young men will not milk cows on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning and afternoon. In industry they can get double time if they work on Sunday and time and a half if they work on Saturday afternoon. So we will not be able to produce the required amount of butter. Aus? tralian dairy farmers, except in Victoria where the position is different, will be hard pressed to meet the demand. Dairy farmers in New South Wales soon will not be able to produce enough milk for the whole milk trade. Dairy production in Queensland is declining, as it is in the Common Market countries. So this is an industry with a declining production.

We intend to invest money in establishing additional milk plants overseas, but we are not establishing plants in India. Yet India is the country where we should be doing this. There are 600 million people in India. We heard this morning that there are 9 million people starving in Bangla Desh. People in India are not allowed to kill a cow because it is a sacred animal in that country. People in India buy a cow and they lake it into the city. When they cannot continue to breed from it they break one of the cow’s legs so that they can kill it, or they push a calf’s nose into a bucket of water and smother it. There is no way in which people in India can get weight gains from Brahman cows or more production from Brahman cows. India is the country in which we should be selling our dairy produce. The men who go to India tell me that a milk plant should be established in India. Ceylon is buying our dairy produce, but there is nothing like the market in Ceylon that there is in India. India is the place where we should establish a milk plant.

While we are imposing upon the dairy industry in Australia a levy of 10c and up to 15c per lb of butter fat - it is realty a duty in order that we can export butter and cheese - we are allowing imported cheese into Australia. This year we will import an additional Sim worth of cheese. The honourable member for Dawson said that the consumption of cheese has increased from 6 lb to 8 lb per person per year, but of that increase of 2 lb, 1 lb is imported cheese. In the first quarter of 1971-72 the imports of some cheeses nearly doubled when compared with the rate for the previous year. This year we are importing approximately $8m worth of cheese while we are investing money in order to improve our export markets for cheese. If we produce in Australia cheese which is as good as imported cheese the producer receives about 30c per lb for it. The same class of cheese is imported at 40c to 44c per lb. The Department of Customs and Excise is looking at this situation to see whether any harm is being’ done to the Australian cheese industry. It is taking a long time to do this because the question is so complicated. Cheese that is imported at 40c per lb is sold at delicatessens in the cities at at $1.20 per lb. This cheese is the best money maker in Australia at the present time. I invite honourable members to come with me and see some of the men who are making this cheese and how they are living. The Greeks want fetta; the Italians want Italian cheese and ‘ Australia makes it. The argument is put that we have to learn. We have sent people overseas to make cheeses in Greece and Romania and they come home and make them in exactly the same way; there is no difference.

Mr Chipp:

– You are quite persuaded that the quality is just as good?


– Not always. There are always some bad cheeses around. We call them stinkers. Now that the Minister has been kind enough and courteous enough to come into the chamber I say to him: Please get on with this inquiry. Imports are rising. The imports of fetta into Victoria this year are enormous. The figures have been given to me .by the statis- tical people but I will not cite them now. This Parliament is providing funds to promote exports of our dairy products. We can make cheese similar to that made overseas and if it is bad it is returned straight away. We do not have full control over bacteria, dust and other things, but we are gradually getting better control. There is very little difference between imported cheeses and the cheeses we make, but the importers are established. 1 have already referred to the profits involved, 30c per lb for imported cheese and 40c per lb for Australian cheese. We are asking Si .25 and $1.30 over the counter. The possibilities are obvious. An enormous range can be offered for sale, especially, with attractive packaging.

The. Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) or any honourable member can come wilh me and watch the procedure. I am making it and selling it and I know how difficult it is. We are charging ourselves 8c per lb, or 15c per lb butter fat on exported butter, or even more in the electorate of the honourable member for Murray (Mr Lloyd). The exporters, of course, get it back. I have here a book written by a man named Vondra on the cheese industry in Australia. He writes that some very fine South Australian cheese makers have now moved into the manufacture of the more profitable 40 lb export

Cheddars. They have stopped making cheeses of the type that are imported. There is something wrong when that happens. 1 have seen some very fine South Australian edam and gouda cheeses, but manu- facture of them has stopped. We are .now going to import them and the South Australian manufacturers, will make more profit out of exporting the 40 lb Australian natural Cheddars. The import duty payable on cheese is abou* 5c per lb, and it costs 8c per lb to export it. Yet it is more profitable to export. Of course, the manufacturers who export it are the very ones who sell at home under the sacred process controlled by the Commonwealth Dairy Equalisation Committee. It is an incredible, situation. The whole thing wants tossing up in the air and a new start made under different conditions. The winds of change are blowing in the cheese industry as well as everywhere else. The Government should know what it is doing.

The rural industries arc so complicated that a man would be pretty good who understood the whole field. We have some experts who take a particular industry, but the Minister and the Government have to deal with the lot. I understand that an officer of the Department of Primary Industry said to a committee: ‘We will get Parliament to pass this.’ We are abou’ to pass it now. I have mentioned some of the things that want looking at. For God’s sake let us take the advice of the industry, lt said ro us some years ago: ‘Cut down Australian cheddar manufactures by 10,000 tons a year. So the industry promptly made an extra 10,000 tons a year. We were misguided enough to say that we would make cheeses of the type that are imported but we have run into the impenetrable barrier of the traditional suppliers, the importers of the cheese that migrants to this country want.

Enormous profits can be made. If we are to import cheeses, let the Government do it. Let us socialise everything. I am glad to see that the honourable member for Riverina is smiling now. If we are too lazy to do it ourselves we should form a statutory corporation and hand over to it. I < hank the House, and particularly the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patter- son), for listening to me.


– The honourable member for- Macarthur (Mr jeff Bate) has acted like a wet blanket in praising this legislation. I do not think he could see any light in it at all; it was all darkness to him. The reason is simple. His philosophy is grounded in complete and absolute laissez faire - private individ”ualism, private enterprise, the god of industry, the god of production. It is interesting that the attitude of the honourable member and most of his colleagues can be summed up in one sentence: They want to individualise their gains and socialise their losses. They want to be rescued when they are in trouble and they want to be on their own when things are going well.

I was interested in some comments of the honourable member for Macarthur, some of which I will refer to shortly. The honourable member is really against an expansion of power for the Australian Dairy Produce Board. The purpose of this legislation is to enable the Board to be stronger financially in that it will be able to use moneys in its account other than moneys borrowed from the Reserve Bank to acquire equity capital and to make loans, lt was not envisaged when the Board was established to meet a tremendous breakthrough in the early 1960s that it would enter into joint commercial ventures in Asia. The Board has been using for investment in Asia money obtained from the Dairy Industry Stabilisation Fund. That money has built up from post war contracts with the United Kingdom. However, the Board does not have sufficient money for investment in this new and dramatic field in Asia.

I commend the Board. I think it has set a tremendous example to every other government board. I am not against government boards. 1 am all for them because they can. help industries. Boards are necessary to control and market production. In this joint ‘ venture with private enterprise Asian businessmen the ‘Board has pioneered something completely new. It is tackling the problems of markets in Asia, lt is not calling upon other people to solve the marketing problems. Representatives of the Board are out in the Asian field, building plants and processing raw material from Australia for consumption on the Asian market. The initiative, daring, courage and intelligence displayed by the Dairy Produce Board are of the highest order. As the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) said at the opening of this debate, we in this House commend the Board most sincerely on its efforts.

There is no future in engaging in production unless we can find a market for the product, and this is what the Board is doing. These joint business enterprises in Asian markets have earned the industry about $4m as its share of the profits on capital invested in the manufacture of a large range of canned milk products in Asian plants. The Board has increased its sales in Asia at a time when the marketing of our products has been very difficult. For instance, in Thailand since 1967 Australia’s share of the market has risen from 3 per cent to 50 per cent. In Indonesia, Australia enjoys a 75 per cent share of the consuming market In Cambodia it has a 100 per cent share of the consuming market. We have a monopoly in Cambodia for these products, in the Philippines we supply 20 per cent of the market. This is a remarkable achievement in an area where there is tremendous competition for markets, especially now that Britain’s entry to the European Economic Community is a reality.

The flow of trade in the future will be switched from Europe to Asia and I foresee that the future of our part of the world will be decided in Asia and not in Europe. The trade advantages and trade potential of this Asian area will have to be exploited by us and by other countries but this is where the future of trade will be. Already Asia is taking 40 per cent of Australia’s total export production. That is a fantastic figure and it has increased by $l74m in the last year. So the future of trade as far as we are concerned is with Asia and the Australian Dairy Produce Board is proving how this trade and these markets can be captured. It is a tremen- clous performance.

The Board requires raw materials of about 30,000 tons of skim milk powder and 7,500 tons of butter oil to make this project possible and it will want more raw -material sent there as it increases’ its sales. The demand is so great that the Board is finding it difficult to supply the increasing raw materials required while at the same time supplying the Australian home market for milk products. Up to 30th June last year the value of raw materials shipped to our Asian plants totalled $36,124,000 which is equivalent to 99,000 tons of milk powder and 23,000 tons of butter oil. The value of the plants’ turnover in the 5 countries was $96,376,543. This is talking in substantial sums of money. The net profit of the operating companies in these joint projects is $8,661,000 to date. Private enterprise could not do better. The honourable member for Macarthur has always been opposed to Government enterprise. Most of his colleagues despise Government enterprise and he has damned the Board with faint praise today at a time when we should be congratulating it for what it has done.

There are one or two other points which should be mentioned. The Board up to date has invested a total of $5,918,000 in plants, $2,400,000 in the form of share capital and $3,518,000 as loans for equipment, working capital and raw materials. It is a substantial investment and we have certainly pioneered the way in this sort of joint enterprise. Other countries possibly will follow us, perhaps to our disadvantage, but at least we have pioneered something which will certainly produce results for Australian dairy farmers. The combined value of Australia’s overseas sales of miscellaneous butter fat products improved in 1970-71 by 10.1 per cent to $53. 3m. The value of overseas sales of skim milk powder increased sharply by 42.2 per cent to $ 1 2.1m but casein declined by 3.4 per cent to $ 12.1m. The overseas sales value of Australian cheese fell by 3.1 per cent to $ 19.1m, making the aggregate for the 4 groups $96.6m in 1970-71 compared with $89.01m in the previous year. This is an increase in sales approximately $7m from butter fat products, skim milk powder, casein and cheese.

The EEC, of course, has dominated the thinking of all exporters and governments in the Pacific area. Butter shipments to the United Kingdom during the year under review declined by 18.3 per cent to 54,500 tons which is about 13,000 below our quota of 67,000 tons. The Board had great difficulty in trying to keep within reasonable range of bur quota, even by reducing stocks to very low levels in Australia to try to approach our quota in the United Kingdom.

The interesting thing about the export of butter shipments to countries other than the United Kingdom is that we increased our shipments by 20.5 per cent to 14,200 tons in 1970-71. So although we went down 18 per cent in shipments to the United Kingdom we increased our sales to Asia and other countries by 20.5 per cent; in all we had an increase in butter shipments. Just over 90 per cent of the anhydrous milk fat sales went to markets in South East Asia, more particularly to countries where milk plants are located. I would like to mention something about cheese. The honourable member for Macarthur - I would like members of the Board who are in the House today to check his figures - said that last year we increased our imports of cheese by Jim. I think he is talking through the back of his neck. I have here the report to the Minister in which the Board said:

Cheese imports into Australia declined in 1970- 71 by 11.6 per cent to 5,808 tons, thereby terminating a continued upward trend over several years. This has resulted from the provisional antidumping action by the Commonwealth Government in the form of security deposits, pending the outcome of the Tariff Board inquiry into the dumping of cheese onto the Australian market.

We are very concerned about imports of cheese, as the honourable member for Macarthur has been, but to say that imports increased by $lm last year is completely untrue on the figures I have from the Board. The Opposition hopes that imports of cheese into Australia may decline further because we have to protect our home industry to the best of our ability.

The influence of the EEC is problematical. We cannot spell it out to the actual dollar or ton or predict the influence it will have on the sales of our butter fat to the United Kingdom. But we know that milk production in the Netherlands is expected to rise. We know also that there will be a further growth In French milk production and that the Irish Republic will have an increase in production. Within the United Kingdom there will be a” national desire to expand milk production to minimise payments to the European Agricultural Guarantee and Guidance Fund. The Board in its report said:

These circumstances, combined wilh the expected substantial reduction in UK butter consumption under the influence of the high EEC retail price and the continued access of New Zealand butter, could leave very little room available for residual suppliers such as Australia. According to market surveys conducted in the UK., there are already indications that the higher butter prices prevailing towards the end of the year under review resulted in a reduction in consumer demand for butter.

That is a complete and valid assessment of the situation. The price of butter to the English consumer will rise when the United Kingdom firmly enters the European Economic Community. There will be a buyer resistance to butter, as there is here with every rise in the price of butter to our consumers. These things being considered, I think that Australia will find less and less access to the United Kingdom market and we must find more and more markets for butter products in Asia. That is why the Board established these plants firmly on Asian soil, knowing that that is where the shift of trade will be going in the future. They are there at the start rather than at the end of such a movement. We commend (he Board wholeheartedly for what it has done.

Finally 1 want to mention an important factor in milk production - the cow itself. An amazing fact comes from reading the statistics about dairy cows in Australia. Since 1966 in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia the number of dairy cows has declined considerably. The only 2 States in which dairy cow numbers have increased are Tasmania and Victoria. The total decrease in the number of milking cows in Australia in the last 5 years is 200,695, yet in that period the production per cow has increased from 483 gallons to 583 gallons annually. This is a remarkable trend in the management of cattle. It is. a tribute to our. agricultural officers in every Slate. It is a tribute to the individual dairy farmers. We hear so much fantasy talk about inefficient dairy farmers. There are not too many of them left in this country,’ otherwise they would not be on their farms now. The fact that in 5 years on an average throughout Australia milk production has increased by 100 gallons per cow annually, taking the good years and the bad years together, is a magnificent tribute to the dairy farmer, to the management of the farm, to the type of soil, to the type of grasses, to the feed procedures and to the agricultural officers who have been in close contact all the time with the dairy farmer.. Although the number of dairy cows has decreased substantially their production: has increased substantially. So we find that the slack in total production has been taken up, because the production per cow has been so greatly increased.

The honourable member for Macarthur was correct when he referred to the decline in one section of dairy products - butter. That has gone down in the last 5 years by about 6,000 tons. That is not very much, and production .could easily go up wilh good seasons. The trouble is that there can be a drought in Queensland and lush pastures in Victoria. I cannot remember when in every area of dairy production in Australia we had a good season. If that were the ease we would never have any shortage of this product and we would probably have great difficulty in finding markets for all of it. But the fact remains that because Australia is so large and has such a variety of dairy areas, geographically, we cannot ever get a good season everywhere, from Tasmania to Queensland. I support the Bill and congratulate the Government for deciding to agree to the Board’s recommendation that it have greater flexibility in its financial arrangements. The Opposition gives the Bill 100 per cent support.


comment upon the drop in the supply of the product. This is one of the problems. There is a variation in supply and in demand. In many instances it is because of climatic conditions over which no-one - or no-one here perhaps - has any control. Yet this can create a problem almost overnight. Sometimes these climatic conditions cause certain action to be taken which, because of circumstances which develop afterwards, may place further problems in the lap of this industry.

I am sure that honourable members will realise and appreciate that many discussions have taken place on what is called the two-price plan. The co-operation of all the States was needed for this plan to be a success. During the discussions the situation changed almost overnight and so made it more difficult to persuade the people that the presentation and the acceptance of the plan - which I believe in the long term Will be in the interests of the industry - was really one of the answers to the problems confronting the dairy indus.try. The honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) referred to this when he said that the circumstances which had developed created many more problems. My friend and colleague the honourable member for Macarthur (Mr Jeff Bate) spoke about efficiency in the industry. I would like people to come to my electorate and see what the dairy farmers have achieved in efficiency over a period of years. The criticism of the dairy industry in regard to inefficiency certainly cannot be sustained today. There are, of course, as I suppose one will find in every industry and in every sphere of activity, people who are inefficient. But by and large, both the factories and the individual farms, there is a very high standard of efficiency in this industry. I feel sure that I can say without fear of contradiction that our dairy industry compares favourably with any similar industry in any other country.

I had the privilege last year of visiting Djakarta and seeing a plant that was established there by the Australian Dairy Produce Board. The problems at that stage was that powdered milk was in short supply. There is no doubt that this plant has made a valuable contribution in 2 spheres, firstly, in relation to the domestic factor of that country, and secondly, as far as the Austraiian farmer is concerned. The statement that, since 1963, the Board has shipped butteroil and skim milk powder valued at $36m to the plants, shows its value in regard to the economic side of the situation. In 1971-72 about 10,000 tons of butter in the form of butteroil and 30,000 tons of skim milk powder worth about Si 5m will be shipped to these plants. That is a further indication of the continuing value of this policy from the economic point of view. But I believe it goes even further than that. There is more than merely the economic factor to be taken into consideration. There is the association between the people and the industry of Australia and the people and the industry of these other countries. That is at least of equal value to the economic consideration.

I might for a brief moment comment on a “bakery 1 visited .in India. The plant at the bakery had been presented by Australia. As 1 watched the loaves of bread, buns and rolls being made I saw the words: ‘This plant was presented by the Australian Government’ inscribed on the plant. In al’ of the advertising and selling, Australia’s contribution was mentioned, lt might be said, as I have heard it said in some instances, that the average man in the street in these countries which have vast populations perhaps does not have a great appreciation of these gifts or contributions to his country, hut I believe that in certain quarters and in the long term in many areas it does get through to these people that

Australia has made a contribution. Gifts such as these assist in a change in the dietary habits of these people and this in turn must be of tremendous value to Australia. Not only do we have to assist them to raise their standard of living and to raise economic standards but also we must, if possible, export our products to these countries and establish there a market and a capacity to purchase our products. I feel that there are occasions when the full appreciation of something such as this is not had by many people in Australia.

A number of years ago I visited Manilla and saw an Australian plant in operation there. The gentleman who was in charge of that plant came from my own area. He was establishing a sense of co-operation between the people in that factory and the people of Australia. In this regard, as I have already said, he was making a far greater contribution even than that achieved in the economic sphere. Much has been said in the speeches that have been made today about the need for Australia to look for new markets. The Australian Dairy Produce Board has been doing this for many years. I would hope that we do not think merely in terms of finding markets in the Asian area. I believe there are great possibilities elsewhere. 1 believe that it is necessary for us to establish new markets and to hold the markets we already have. But I do feel that there is still an opportunity for us to sell our products in the United Kingdom and in the European Economic Community. Although it may now be more difficult, while there will be complexities and problems, I believe that it would be wrong for us to say in the face of this situation that it is impossible for us to sell in this area. This is something to which we can give a great deal of attention.

Mr Roberts, the Chairman of the Board, stated in his report:

The Asian plants have also secured an increased market share for Australian milk products sold in South East Asia. In Thailand the Australian share of the market has risen from 3 per cent in 1967 to about 50 per cent today. In Indonesia and Cambodia Australia enjoys a market Aare of 75 per cent and 100 per cent respectively and 20 per cent in the Philippines.

This is an indication of what has been achieved. There has been an increase in the price of dairy products due to a world shortage. I would hope that this does not give to our people a false sense of security because this would cause in the industry a feeling that it is not necessary to make such an effort to hold and sustain the markets that we already have.

For the reasons I have put forward I think that this piece of legislation presented to us at this time is one that is valuable both to industry and to Australia. I do not want to labour the points that have already been made by previous speakers during the course of this debate. I just content myself with saying that this is a further indication of successful, co-operation between the Government and industry. 1 would like also to congratulate the Dairy Produce Board not only on what it has achieved in this particular sphere but on what it has achieved in many of its activities over recent years.

Debate (on motion by Mr Kirwan) adjourned.

Sitting suspended from 5.50 to 8 p.m.

page 266


Ministerial Statement

Treasurer · Bruce · LP

– by leave - I take this opportunity, following the resumption of the Parliament, to inform honourable members at first hand about the current and prospective state of the economy, and about the policy actions taken by the Government since we last met here in December. In this statement I shall spell out what the Government’s economic policy objectives are and have been; what they will continue to be in the future; the measures which the Government has taken in pursuit of them; and the flexibility and adequacy of those measures in the light of those objectives. In doing so 1 hope to provide, in particular, evidence of the strength of the economy and its potential for continued growth.

By way of introduction to these themes, it may however be useful if I first say something about the present position and prospects of the economy as we see them. At the Premiers Conference last week the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) outlined our latest assessment of the economic situation and the prospects over the months ahead. This assessment was the result of a very detailed and thorough examination of the economy which we had been under- - taking since about mid- January. But I want to stress that, although this was a particularly detailed examination, it was not an isolated one. On the contrary, as at the time of the Budget we undertook to do, we have maintained a virtually continuing review of the economy in recent months. The policy actions which have been taken from November onwards have been the measured outcome of this continuing review.

There is no doubt that the strains which were affecting the economy a year or so ago have been dispelled. Their removal does not mean, however, that the underlying strength or growth potential of the economy has been impaired. On the contrary, its potential for strong and balanced growth has been enhanced. Some however have claimed - 1 would not say argued - that this otherwise desirable development has been achieved at the expense of bringing on a ‘recession’. A good many gloomy statements have been heard to that effect. lt is important to be clear, therefore, that our review showed that the economy is far from being in a ‘recessionary’ state. There are indeed some flat spots in . the economy, of which the most notable and important is. in the area of consumer spending. But demand ‘ and output overall have continued to grow at a moderate rate during recent months. Even in the absence of the policy actions, which wc have taken this month, they were expected to grow further. Such a situation is not, of course, what is wanted by those who enjoyed the over-buoyant conditions of a year or so ago but it is steady growth. On the basis of estimates made at the time of our review, gross national product in real terms was expected to increase by about 4 per cent in 1971-72 - that is, in the absence of any further action on our part.

Undoubtedly, the predominant moderating influence on the growth of total demand has been the trend in consumer spending which, despite the strong growth in personal disposable incomes, has remained subdued. Our experience in this field during 1971 has, indeed, been rather remarkable. Although personal disposable incomes have been growing very fast in money terms throughout the period, there has as yet been little sign of any pick-up in the rate of growth of real consumer spending. As consumer prices have accelerated -markedly over the period, the rate of growth of personal consumption expenditure in real terms has slowed. Perhaps one corollary of that could be that if we could enjoy a greater measure of success in arresting the rate of rise of costs and hence prices, the rate of growth of real consumption might increase somewhat faster than it has of late. But whether that be so or not, it is clear that there was room here for some judicious addition, directly or indirectly, to demand and that is, of course, what we have done.

In the field of private investment, however, dwelling construction turned upwards in the first half of 1971-72 and recent trends both in commencements and approvals, and particularly the recent record level of finance approvals, indicate a maintenance of this upward trend. Nondwelling investment has shown signs nf levelling out - on the basis of preliminary and seasonally adjusted figures there was some decline in this area- in the December quarter - and we are of course aware in that connection of the deferment of some major construction plans in the area of minerals development. It is however important to remember that this change is occurring from the basis of the extremely high growth rates of recent years. Given those growth rates - particularly” in private non-residential building and construction and in the mining sector - this was only to be expected.

The external sector of the economy remains very strong. In the 6 months to December 1971 exports exceeded imports by $272m, compared with an excess of $167m in the corresponding period of 1970. There should be a substantial increase in the net addition to overall demand in the economy during 1971-72 from the excess of exports over imports. Public authority spending, of which I shall have more to say later, has been strong. Monetary conditions are currently very easy. The volume of money, including bank deposits, has been growing fast and bank and private sector liquidity generally is currently at a high level. Trading bank lending has increased strongly over recent months. This suggests that our expansive policy on bank lending, first initiated last October and then carried through in December, is becoming effective. In the 3 months to mid-January new overdraft approvals averaged a weekly rate of about $43m compared with $35m in the preceding 3 months. Actual advances outstanding have also been rising strongly. The costs of finance have also been reduced in the economy. The Government has shown that it. firmly intends that financial conditions will not be a restraining influence on the economy over coming months. On the side of production, a strong performance is continuing in most areas of manufacturing. In the December quarter, 24 of the 33 items for which figures are available recorded increases in output com-: pared with the corresponding period of 1970. Of these increases II, including ali the consumer durable items, were of more than 10 per cent. There was also strong growth in the production of gas, plastics and synthetic resins, electricity, bricks and cement, confectionery and beer. The chief area of weakness has been in iron and steel, where production has been affected by a sharp run-down in orders as users adjusted their stock positions. According to the most recent information, this decline in orders has now largely ceased. 1 want here to make, special mention of the prospects for rural industries. These are now more encouraging than they have been for a long time. In broad terms, 1971-72 is expected to see an increase of between 4 per cent and 5 per cent in the volume of rural production ‘ over the 1.970-71 level. The gross value of rural production is estimated to increase- by some 6 per cent with a probable rise of S pei cent in total farm costs. Farm income is estimated by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics at approximately $1,000m, an increase of 11 per cent over 1970-71. Within this total picture of the rural sector, a particularly welcome recent development is the improvement in the wool market. While markets by their nature are uncertain, it does appear that there may have been a genuine reversal of the downward trend which has afflicted the wool market for some time. More generally, however, there are encouraging, signs across the broad spectrum of rural industries. Meat production, for example, has expanded rapidly and there has been a concurrent expansion in exports. Of particular significance here is the prospect of larger quotas for beef and mutton in the United States. Sugar production is at record levels and favourable world free market prices seem in prospect at least until the current in.ernational sugar agreement expires in 1973. Wheat, although it cannot be expected to maintain the record sales levels of 1970-71, is expected to have another good year. Production, and hence deliveries, was below the quota set for 1971-72, largely because of adverse weather conditions, but carryover stocks for 1973 are likely to be at their lowest level for a number of years. The international dairy products marketing situation has continued on a very firm note with record export prices prevailing. The Government is, naturally, extremely pleased about these improved prospects for many of our rural industries. I must however emphasise that we remain as determined as ever to meet the underlying long-term needs for structural change in this sector of the economy.

Our recent review of the economy, of course, included a review ot the situation in the labour market and put clearly i:i perspective the situation in the labour market about which so much has been said recently. After a marked rise in August and September, the seasonally adjusted level of unemployment at the end of January had risen only 0.08 per cent above the endSeptember level. That is to say, during the past 4 months the level has inched upwards by only 0.02 per cent per month on average. The fact is that the present unemployment position Ls little different from the longer term pattern. Unemployment, whether measured over a 10-year or a 15-year period, has averaged about 1.4 per cent of the work force, which compares with the present seasonally adjusted level of 1.612 per cent. In passing, I note that it is proper to compare any seasonally adjusted monthly figure with an average over a year or a number of years, since such averaging, by definition, resolves the question of seasonality. If allowance is made for the fact that an important part of the unemployment situation today is the result of the difficult situation which has confronted some of our rural industries, the difference from the long term norm is even smaller.

The fullness of these facts has not been picked up by some observers. But the facts are as I have stated them; and those facts make nonsense of some irresponsible predictions I have seen reported. For example, one earlier this month was to the effect that another 50,000 people could be out of work within 2 or 3 months. We arc not going to have 170,000 registered unemployed by April. In saying this, 1 must put aside the possibility of some temporary aberration brought by some major industrial stoppage such as we have seen recently in Victoria. On the contrary, possibilities of that kind apart, I expect in February a considerable reduction in the absolute number of registered unemployed. I also expect the downward trend in numbers to continue in the months that follow.

I have been concerned, and the Government has been concerned, about unemployment, particularly about the person who is registered as unemployed. That, of course, was very much in our minds when ‘he measures were announced by the Prime Minister at the Premiers Conference on Monday of last week. Whatever may be said about the unemployment situation, however, one thing clearly stands out. Whereas the unemployment situation is, as I have said, broadly in line with the long term norm, by contrast the rate of increase in prices now is very much further away from what has been the long term experience.

This is undoubtedly the most difficult problem currently facing the Australian economy. Over the space of 2 years or so we have moved from a position in which prices were increasing at about their average long-term rate - around 2i per cent - to one in which the underlying trend seems to be about 3 times as steep. Whereas our rate of price inflation was, 2 years ago, quite favourable compared with most other developed economies, we are now doing worse than average. This is a development warranting the most serious concern. I have already spelled out publicly on a number of occasions - and do not repeat here - the economic and social consequences, both in the short term and in the long term, which a continuation of the present trend in prices would bring in its train. I do repeat, however, that while there are other factors also operating, it is incontrovertible that the main spring of our present inflationary problem is the continuing excessive rise in wage and salary costs.

From what I have said, it will be apparent that the detailed review of the economy indicated that the economy was likely to continue growing steadily in the months ahead. Nonetheless, after careful consideration the Government recognised that there was now scope for some moderate improvement in that performance. In particular, we took the view that, while the trend in unemployment had pretty well flattened out over recent months, scope existed for some further stimulus to the level of activity designed to make doubly sure of our objective of maintaining a high level of employment. It was with these considerations in mind that the Government took the significant policy actions announced this month- actions which complemented the other measures taken in the months preceding. lt is not, of course, sufficient merely to state objectives. The test must be in terms of action taken. The actions which we have taken to ensure that our objectives are achieved are there for all to see. Those actions have provided the clearest possible evidence of the Government’s flexibility in responding to emerging economic trends. In taking them we have provided a measured response to changing- circumstances in what a dynamic, flexible, continually moving economy and one which, during the period in question, has been more- than usually subject to uncertainty. Lest there be any doubt upon that aspect, let me recall the measures which the Government has taken over recent months. These measures have been carefully weighed and pondered. They will, we are convinced, guard against any possibility that growth in the economy might slacken over the com: ing months, with consequent adverse effects on the demand for labour. But they are, at the same time, measures which will nol so propel the economy that we would jeopardise such hard-won success as. we have so far had in reducing the inflationary pressures. As the Prime Minister has recently said, in this respect we have a narrow path to tread, but we must tread it.

Overall, the decisions announced by the Prime Minister at the Premiers Conference, together with other fiscal action taken sincethe Budget, are estimated on a costing to add about $122m to Commonwealth Budget outlays in the current financial year. These measures have been on various fronts. They have been directed not only at the general objective of maintaining the momentum of growth but also at certain particular problems within the total framework of the economy. Grants to ameliorate rural unemployment are an important example of this latter kind of measure. Again, the Government proposes that unemployment and associated benefits will be increased substantially. These rates had not been adjusted since 1969 and, for that and other reasons, there is no doubt that the increases now proposed are both desirable and justified.

I refer next to our decision to restore the special investment allowance on manufacturing plant and equipment. Although the major determinant Of investment expenditure is the expected growth of demand relative to existing capacity, we have had it put to us strongly from many quarters that the restoration of the alowance would be most effective in boosting confidence and stimulating activity. We have accepted that view. Certainly, the decision to restore the allowance has elicited widespread expressions of support.

In December the Government, as I mentioned earlier, introduced a scheme of grants to the States for employment creating activities in non-metropolitan areas. It was an important step, designed to. attack directly the severe and largely structural unemployment problem in these areas arising in major part out of the longer terra difficulties facing some of our rural industries. While the scheme has already made an important contribution towards alleviating this structural problem of rural unemployment, the evidence already available indicates that more could be done in this field. In particular, several of the State Premiers pointed out to us that they could quickly and effectively allocate larger amounts under this scheme to. urgent and useful works. We therefore agreed with the Premiers that the monthly rate of these grants be increased from $2.25m to$4.5m per month as from the beginning of February. In terms of annual rates this means that pending the review of the scheme which was in any case scheduled for June, expenditure on the scheme will for the coming months be at the rate of $54m per annum.

Mr Reynolds:

– Where will you get the money?


– Order! This is the fourth time the honourable member for Barton has interjected. I suggest that he cease interjecting.


– One particularly serious effect of the rapid rise in State governmental wage costs which occurred in 1970-71 was that State loan funds had to be used for current budgetary purposes and, for that reason as well as because of the rising costs themselves, a number of important State works had to be deferred. In 1971-72 also, total public authority capital expenditure is growing more slowly in constant price terms than public expenditure overall. I draw a distinction between capital expenditure and current expenditure.

With these facts in mind the Government proposed to the’ Premiers last week some increase inthe State works and housing programmes and the semi-government borrowing programmes. After detailed discussion, it was agreed to increase the works and housing programmes by $32m, including an increase of $9. 3m in the interest-free capital grant component, and to increase the semi-government borrowing programmes by $10m. The Premiers have given us their assurance that these additional funds will, as far as possible, be utilised quickly to provide increased employment on worthwhile public works projects, of which, of course, there is no lack, particularly in the urban areas.

In addition to these various measures, which should have a relatively quick and direct impact on economic activity and employment, it was also agreed that additional revenue grants of$15m will be provided to the States in 1971-72, and that a special advance of$17.5m will be made to New South Wales on 30th June this year in recognition of its particular Budget difficulties. Although the budgetary positions of the States vary from case to case, these amounts will assist them all, either in undertaking additional expenditure or, in the case of those experiencing budgetary difficulties, in allowing them to carry on without the need for additional restrictive measures.

Economic policy actions have not been limited to the fiscal front. Let me recall the important monetary policy measures which have been taken over the last few months. The easing of monetary policy started in fact as long ago as last October. In that month the Reserve Bank, after due consultation with the Prime Minister and myself, informed the trading banks that there would be no objection to increase in their lending. This was the first step towards the removal of the relatively firm restraints which had been placed on bank lending - both by Reserve Bank requests and by liquidity constraints - for quite a significant period.

Although in the following months bank liquidity was increasing strongly, we recognised that some banks, for a number of reasons, regarded their liquidity prospects as uncertain. We thought, it necessary, therefore, to allay any concern that banks might have in this regard! A large release - involving about $132m - from major trading banks’ statutory reserve deposits was effected in December. This reduction in the SRD ratio, from 8.9 per cent to 7.1 per cent, was accompanied by advice to the banks that it would now be appropriate for all existing restraints on bank lending to be removed. If not only allowed the replenishment of banks’ term loan funds and farm development loan funds, but also provided additional funds for an increase in general lending.

In taking this step we also had in mind another important objective, namely our desire to allow the banks to play their full part in financing the private sector. This objective was also relevant to the precise application of the decisions taken earlier this month to reduce the level of trading bank interest rates. The reduction of onehalf per cent in most bank lending rates and the commensurate reductions in bank deposit rates were, of course, effected principally with our broader short-term monetary policy objectives in mind. The opportunity was taken, however, to modify somewhat the existing bank interest rate arrangements with the longer term objective of providing banks with a greater degree of competitive flexibility in their operations. The easing of monetary policy has not been restricted to the banking sector. It also has been reflected in the Government securities market and particularly in the very significant reductions which have been effected in yields on Government securities since last September. Since the September loan, bond yields at the shorter end have been reduced by about 1.2 per cent and the long-term bond rate by 1 per cent. In the February loan which has just closed, the long-term bond rate was brought down by 0.7 per cent compared with the comparable rate offered last November.

The position is that interest rates on short and medium term Government securities are now significantly lower than the rates which prevailed prior to the sharp increases in rates in the April-May period of 1970. The long-term rate has returned to the level operating at that time. The commensurate reductions in yields onTreasury notes mean that these yields are now at their lowest level since May 1969. There is, in other words, no more sign of rigidity in the Government’s policy in this field than in others. The reductions in yields on government securities were intended to have - and they are having - effects on private interest rates, and thereby upon the costs of finance to the private sector. Over and above that, also, we have had in mind the effects the bond yield reductions would have in ensuring that financial conditions were not a restraining factor on the economy in the later months of the financial year, the period when there is normally a seasonal contraction of liquidity.

The effects of these measures are already being reflected in financial markets. Monetary conditions are currently very easy. The private sector and the banks are in a very liquid position. Private interest rates have also fallen with the reductions in official interest rates, and they can be expected to fall further in coming months. In short, financial conditions are very conducive to increased activity in the economy, both on the consumer side and the investment side. This has been our aim. The monetary policy measures which have been taken over recent months add up in themselves to a significant package which is having, and will continue to have, important direct and indirect effects on the economy.

Having thus recalled all these measures in some detail - I think it was worth doing so - I believe I can go on to say that public reaction to them has been very favourable. At last week’s Premiers Conference, all Premiers joined in congratulating the Government for its realistic and decisive action. This very pleasing unanimity, which is now a matter of record, reflected 1 believe the feeling of ail present that the time had come to put an end to the air of pessimism with which, over previous weeks, we had become all too familiar. Industrial and business leaders have also warmly welcomed the Government’s measures. Indeed, 1 believe there has been general agreement in the community that these measures will strengthen business confidence and provide a stimulus to economic activity generally. Judging by its performance today, even the Opposition has found it hard to be critical - at any rate in any constructive fashion.

Most of what I have said so far has been in relation lo our growth and employment objectives. It must also be made plain, however, thai the Government cannot - and will not. - down tools in the pursuit of ils other major objective, which is the checking of inflation. The Government has, of course, implemented a wide range of policies to that end. It must be clearly recognised that these policies have not as yet met with more than limited success. We cannot close our eyes to that unpleasant fact, for fact it is. This does not mean, however, that we should give up the battle. On the contrary, we realise fully that once the inflationary enemy has become entrenched, the battle is bound to be longdrawn out. I think it is important, therefore, to outline what the Government’s policies have been in regard to inflation.

I referred earlier to the steps which were aimed al rectifying the strained conditions of the economy of 12 and 18 months ago. Action was necessary to ensure that pressures, including those arising from the ultralight conditions in the labour market which prevailed throughout 1970 and into 1971. were eased. This needs to be done, because it is common ground to all those who approach these questions thoughtfully that while conditions of that kind exist, efforts to control inflation will not succeed. There is nothing surprising about that. For such conditions are conducive to the exercise of unbridled industrial strength by powerful union groups; to the rapid passing on of cost increases - and sometimes more - in higher prices; to bottlenecks and delivery delays and all the other signs which, each in its small way, point to a falling away of overall standards of efficiency and real productivity.

The Commonwealth’s direct powers in the control of wages are. of course, limited. But we are doing what we can, as a government, io oppose excessive wage claims wherever the opportunity arises. In recent months the Commonwealth has intervened in major cases before the Arbitration Commission for the purpose of ensuring that the public interest is given full weight in the decisions the Commission hands down. We shall be doing so again in the national wage case which has got under way again this week. 1 will say no more about that case while the hearing proceeds.

I emphasise that these actions are being taken within the framework of our arbitral machinery. That machinery, of course, must be subject to overhaul from time to time, and I therefore mention in that connection the review of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act which has been in hand now for some time. This has, as one of its aims, a more efficient and relevant system of wage determination in the context of the modern, developed, strong Australian economy.

But, of course, wage restraint is not the whole answer. The Government has never stated that it was. We have also been seeking, as a matter of some urgency, to find ways of strengthening competition within the economy, to ensure that pricing decisions are made in a more competitive atmosphere. One major step towards this objective is the broad review of the tariff which is under way. In regard to internal competitive forces w.? introduced some time ago legislation prohibiting the practice of resale price maintenance. In the light of subsequent experience with that legislation we expect to bring forward in the current parliamentary session more effective legislation in the area of restrictive trade practices.

These, and other measures such as those directed at increasing productivity in the economy, are longer term in character. But they are essential elements in any policy aimed at inflation which is to have any hope of lasting success. What they also demonstrate is that the Government has taken a broad approach in its policies against inflation. But broad though I believe our approach has been, it cannot bc gainsaid that we have placed particular emphasis upon resisting, to the extent of our powers to do so. excessive rises in wage and salary rates. We have done so for a very good reason. For, however unpalatable the point may be in the eyes of some, it is perfectly clear that excessively rising wage and salary rates are the major, though certainly not the sole, influence behind he over-rapid rate of increase in prices. From that it follows that, from any practical viewpoints, attention has had to be focused on rising wages if there is to be any real prospect of dealing with inflation.

Against that background, the Commonwealth believes that, in present circumstances, it has a particular obligation to ensure that wage and salary increases within the area of its own direct responsibility do not lead the way or contribute to the spreading of any ‘new round’ of increases within the economy. The Prime Minister put it thus in his opening statement to the Premiers Conference:

We recognise, however, that we cannot hope to exercise a significant influence (in urging private employers to resist extravagant claims for increased wages and improved conditions) if there is any widespread feeling among businessmen that we are not, in fact, exercising restraint within the areas open to our direct influence - the Public Service and the various Commonwealth statutory bodies.

It is with this in mind that the Government has announced its opposition to flowon within the Commonwealth Public Service or Commonwealth instrumentalities of the 9 per cent increase granted to administrative and clerical staff within the Victorian Public Service and the State government instrumentalities. Our opposition will, of course, take place within the provisions of the Public Service Arbitration Act, and within that Act we will put our case relating to this matter at appropriate stages of the arbitral process. I emphasise that this new step, which we recognise to be a serious one, is directed only at ensuring that, as far as possible, the new round of increases which began in Victoria should be quarantined to that State. The damage already done there must not, in other words, spread further.

I emphasise that the processes of arbitration are regarded by the Government as an essential element of the wage fixing procedures in this country. They have a long history of serving Australia well in the past. The Government believes that they must be preserved and strengthened to continue to serve us well in the future. Those processes, when functioning as they should do. are even-handed toward all and ensure fair treatment for the weak. In times of inflation, when it is the weak who go to the wall, that is a very important consideration. The Government does not attempt, therefore, to interfere in the free and independent exercise of their functions by the arbitral authorities. What it does do - and it has not only a right but also, in the public interest, a duty in this connection - is to point out to the arbitral authorities the facts of the economic situation, and the consequences of their decisions for the economy and the community. The final decisions in the particular matters which are before them, however, must be and of course are taken by the arbitral authorities., who carry the responsibility for them.

I have outlined in this statement the essential results of a recent detailed assessment of the economy and its prospects. That assessment has provided evidence of the current underlying strength of the economy and its potential for growth. I have tried to place the employment situation and prospect clearly in perspective. At the same time, I have referred to certain problem spots, the most serious being the inflationary problem that we currently face. In stating once again the Government’s main economic policy objectives, I have reiterated our firm commitment to achieving a steady rate of economic growth while at the same time maintaining a high level of employment. Equally firm, however, is our commitment to tackle the problem of inflation.

The Government’s actions which I have outlined have been evidence, and have been recognised as such, of its firm intentions to achieve these objectives. The Government believes that those actions measure up to the criteria of flexibility, consistency and adequacy by which economic management should be judged. I am not saying that such policies, even though sound, will achieve all the nation’s objectives. They are an essential requirement in this regard, but they may not be a sufficient one. The achievement of our objectives will also require the co-operation and determination of the community to provide full support to these policies.

From the viewpoint of the community, 2 important things stand out from what I have said. Firstly, there is no reason for a lack of confidence in the economy. This, I think, is now being recognised, and it means among other things that members of the business community can make their decisions with full ‘confidence in the continued steady growth of the economy. Secondly, it is clear that inflation is today our major problem, lt is a problem which cannot be ignored or be expected to go away. The tackling of inflation is the’ responsibility of every person in the community and it is in everyone’s long term interests. Bearing this responsibility will not be easy; but doing so .will mean that we will achieve our objectives more quickly and the cost to everyone will be less. I present the following paper:

Economic Conditions and Policy - Ministerial Statement, 24th February 1972

Motion (by Mr Swartz) proposed:

That the House take note of the paper.

Suspension of Standing Orders

Motion (by Mr Swartz) - by leave - agreed to:

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the honourable member for Melbourne Ports speaking for a period not exceeding 38 minutes.

Melbourne Ports

– I should like to quote from the last part of the statement of the Treasurer (Mr Snedden). I shall quote words which did not seem to raise much cheer on the Government side of the House when they were uttered. The Treasurer said: . . I have reiterated our firm commitment to achieving a steady rate of economic growth while at the same time maintaining a high level of employment. Equally firm, however, is our commitment to tackle the problem of inflation.

Earlier he observed that he believed that the Australian economy was dynamic, flexible and continually moving. I suggest that if regard is had to some of the recent statistics published in this country the only steady thing about the rate of the economic growth is that it has almost stopped. This is most evident in the preliminary quarterly statements on national income issued on 23rd February 1972 by the Commonwealth Statistician. They contain figures expressed both at current prices and at average 1966-67 prices. The purpose of the latter figures is to keep them at constant prices and to take the question of inflation out of the effect of the figuring. If these seasonal figures are noted it will be seen that there is scarcely any growth whatever in the Australian economy.

I want to say one or two things about economic growth. It is easy to bamboozle people with figures if you imply that they are related to a firm base when in essence they deal with a shifting set of circumstances. After all, what is the perspective of the injection pf $122m into the economy? That sum will be injected into it over a period of time as a result of the changes made in the Budget since August 1971. If there has been a change of that magnitude there must have been something wrong with the figuring in the first place, or in the strategy of it, which is the more common description these days.

The Treasurer said that there will be an increase of $122m this financial year as a result of measures undertaken not only last week but some months ago. What will that increase mean in relation to the total expected Budget expenditure, as at the time of the Budget speech in August 1971, of near enough to $9,000m? That figure of $122m represents about one and one-third per cent of the estimated expenditure of the Budget but from the time the Budget was introduced in August 1971 up to the present time, some 6 months later, there already has been an increase in prices of over 4 per cent. So at least in real terms Government expenditure actually will be less than was estimated at the time the Budget was propounded. These are some of the things that the Government is not looking into. The Treasurer made a rather curious observation in his speech. He said:

As consumer prices have accelerated markedly over the period, the rate of growth of personal consumption expenditure in real’ terms has slowed.

At least he acknowledged that people are spending more. But they are paying more for the same goods and therefore in real terms there has been a real decline. The figures for the December quarter bear that out. They show that personal consumption for the December quarter of 1971-72 was $4, 141m as against $4, 178m in the previous quarter. This is the first time that I have been able to find an example of where there has been a decline in personal consumption between the September and December quarters. After all, the December quarter includes what is supposed to be the Christmas rush. In real terms consumer expenditure declined and he has observed that. His next statement is the thing that I think needs spelling out and thinking out so far as honourable members on the Government side of the House are concerned. He continued and said:

Perhaps one corollary of that could be that if we could enjoy a greater measure of success in arresting the rate of rise of costs and hence prices, the rate of growth of real consumption might increase somewhat faster than it has of late.

I submit - and we said this only 2 days ago - that insofar as consideration is given only to wages as the generator of inflation in this community, this economic decline will continue. I think we of the Opposition expressed it in this way: While wages may be the greatest single element of costs in any community they are also the greatest single source of consumer spending. This is the kind of adjudication that sensible government has to do. There has to be equity between wages on the one hand and prices on the other.

The Treasurer talked in the course of his speech about something that is so glibly referred to as ‘productivity’. I simply ask quite categorically. Can you give us any examples in recent times of prices that have fallen? Unless wages increase they will not purchase the same real goods as they did previously, let alone give to the wage earner any share of what is described as productivity. I think that is axiomatic. But all that the Treasurer does, in the name of the Government, is to reiterate over and over: “We believe in hal’ Lng inflation and we think that the greatest source, if not the only source, of inflation is wages.’ We on the Opposition side deny that. Wages are significant but if prices did not rise wages would not need to be increased as much as they do. Nobody can say that if wages did not increase prices would not increase. Surely this is the nub of the situation.

I was intrigued by the Treasurer’s prescriptions for inflation. Lest honourable members did not notice them very carefully 1 will read them again. He said:

The Government has. of course, implemented, a wide range of policies to that end.

He means to the end of halting inflation. He lists those policies and the ‘first in his list is this: . . we are doing what we can, as a Government, to oppose excessive wage claims wherever the opportunity arises.

The opportunity arises every time there is a case before the court in which the Commonwealth Government can intervene. It does intervene and the Treasurer says that the Government will continue to do so m the national wage case that is now before the court. That is the first policy to hak inflation. The second’ policy was revealed when he stated:

We have also been seeking, as a matter of some urgency, to find ways of strengthening, competition within the economy, to .ensure, that pricing decisions are made in a more competitive atmosphere.

I hesitate to mention again in this House the matter of Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd about which we have heard so much in the last week or so. There is no competition against its production and it made a blatant decision to increase prices. The Government did nothing about that matter except to hold its hands up in horror and make clucking noises after the event, lt knew that the increase was going to occur. Yet the Treasurer said: ‘We will ensure that pricing decisions are made in a more competitive atmosphere’. I say that that is sheer humbug. Nobody believes it any more. How can people believe it after the Premiers’ meeting held here recently ‘ at which the Commonwealth doled out to them money that could have been spent before. Some of the money was required merely to make up a budget deficit in New

South Wales. Approximately $30m is being taken out of the economy by a decision made by only one firm. That is only the first impact of the decision. The Treasurer went on to say that one major step is the broad review of the tariff which is under way. What is the broad review of the tariff which is under way and when will it have any impact in halting inflation?

Dr J F Cairns:

– When will we see any results?


– I think it was a surprise to many people that it was under way at all. 1 think that everybody thought it was out of sight like many other things. The Treasurer said: . . and we expect to bring forward in the current parliamentary session some effective legislation in the area of restrictive trade practices.

I ask him to give us some of the details of it. At the moment, there is very little abatement in the rising level of prices. Again, we hear this spurious quoting of statistics. What does not seem to be realised about the Australian economy is that it has been declining not only during the last 6 months but also since the time of 2 Budgets ago. That was the genesis of the economic decline, the time when my friend was relegated to the back benches.

I wish to cite some figures in relation to housing. I am indebted to my colleague, the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren), for supplying them. For the 12 months ended December 1969, housing commencements numbered 75,144. In the 12 months ended December 1970, the figure was 68,915, which represents a decline of 7,000 homes. To the end of 1971, this figure built up again to 71,620. A good result is obtained if the recent rise is compared with the lowest declension. But if we return to the point to which we ought to return, which is December 1969 instead of December 1971, the figures are still below the levels of 1969. Were there fewer people in Australia to be housed in the 12 months ended December 1971 than there were in the 12 months ended December 1969? The figures repeat themselves if we take the 2 major States, Victoria and New South Wales. In Victoria in December 1969, housing commencements numbered 20,132. In December 1970 they were 18,281 and in December 1971, 18,145. That last figure is still below the level of the previous 12 months and approximately 10 per cent below the level of 2 years ago. The position is similar in New South Wales. At December 1969 housing commencements numbered 26,472. In December 1970, they numbered 23,552 and in December 1971, 23,987. There was a slight increase from 1970 to 1971 but they were still approximately 9 per cent below the 1969 level.

If this economy of ours, to use the words of the Treasurer, is dynamic, flexible and continually moving, this has to be demonstrated in terms of the context of the realities in Australia. The population has increased by approximately 250,000 persons per annum. In past years, about half of that increase has been due to migration and the other half of it due to what is described as natural increase, the excess of births over deaths. The gross national product of Australia, even if prices remain the same, would need to increase by about 2 per cent per annum as a minimum to keep the standards per capita as they were before. In addition to that, if at least some part of increased productivity is to be bestowed upon us in this affluent age, the gross national product has to rise- by more than 2 per cent. What are we getting at the moment? We are supposed to be gratified that by June 1972, this year, there will be an increase in the gross national product of 4 per cent, which will be the lowest increase for a considerable number of years, except last year. Last year there was a decline of 1 per cent to H per cent in the normal percentage increase of the gross national product.

I can cite some accurate figures in relation to this matter. In 1966-67 the gross national product increased by 6.5 per cent. In 1967-68 it increased by 3.9 per cent, in 1968-69 by 8.3 per cent, in 1969-70 by 5.6 per cent and in 1970-71 - last year - by 3.9 per cent. Apparently, we are all to be gratified that it will increase by 4 per cent this year. Suppose the increase had remained the same as in the year 1969-70, at 5.6 per cent instead of 4 per cent. What would that mean? Let us look at what it means in terms of the production of additional physical goods. At today’s prices 1 per cent of the gross national product represents about $330m to $340m. So the additional 1.6 per cent would represent an increase in the goods and services being produced in Australia of approximately $500m. That is the extent of the decline in economic activity this year over last year. If we go back 2 years this would represent a figure of the magnitude of $ 1,000m. Yet we are told that the Government has now made a review of this dynamic, flexible and continually moving economy. Nowhere do the figures bear this out.

I ask honourable members to look at the figures for what should be the principal generator in what is still described as a private enterprise economy. One of the poorest performers is the gross fixed capital expenditure in the private field. 1 ask honourable members to look at it as expressed in 1966-67 terms. It has been constant for Iti months. Now we are told that the economy will be lifted by the restoration of the investment allowance. The Government asks: Why should anybody be alarmed about the future? What the Treasurer will not acknowledge is that private enterprise in Australia will not be activated until real consumer expenditure begins to expand. That is being overlooked here. That is why my colleague, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), suggested the other day that the economy can be stimulated quickest by putting purchasing power into the hands of the people who can spend the money. There are still many people in the Australian community who do not receive enough.

The other kind of indicator as to how the economy is running down is the figures, not for unemployment but for total employment in Australia. I reiterate that, to absorb into creative employment in Australia the young people Who leave school every year, we are expected to find approximately 200,000 new jobs minus 30,000 to 40,000 vacancies caused by deaths and retirements. That means that 160,000 to 170,000 new jobs have to be found every year. That had been the record of the Australian economy 2 years ago and up until last year. I will quote the figures we have for a complete year, from November 1970 to November 1971. I think I cited these figures the other evening. The increase in total employment, in Australia last year was 92,500,- whereas 12 months previously, from November 1969 to November 1970, the figure had been 171,000. That is the source of increased unemployment at the moment. The only sort of acknowledgement that the Treasurer seems to make is that he recognises there is a little more unemployment in the country than he would like to see. What he is not acknowledging is that the major part of the unemployment in Australia today is among adult males, many of them married. This is happening in a community that calls itself a Christian community which is supposed to believe in the blessings of family life and so on. lt is serious when adult males who have families to support arc o st of work. The greatest number of those who are out of employment are in the categories that are defined as unskilled and semi-skilled. Reading between the lines of the Treasurer’s statement, he seems to suggest that somehow there has been something good about this increase in unemployment. It has reduced labour turnover; it has made people more disposed to stay when formerly they would have wanted to move. I do not know whether that is the doctrine. Candidly. I am not one who believes that unemployment is deliberately created but I think unemployment is being created in Australia out of economic mismanagement. Until one removes that economic mismanagement and looks at what the seeds of it are it is going to increase.

Now to return to these adult males who are out of work. About 45,000 of them, or one-third of the total unemployed, are in the 2 categories of semi-skilled and unskilled manual; I think that is what the statistics call them. They are not only old Australians but also new Australians. At the moment the Government is killing the hopes of people who come to this country expecting it to be a place where there is economic opportunity and security for children. I was astounded at the kind of stuff we listened ‘o here the other night during the debate on the increased unemployment benefit. A suggestion was made that if one increased the payment of unemployment benefit from $10 to SI7 this is s’ill better than the SI 2 paid in France or the something else which is payable somewhere else, ls that the way to look at the position?

Last Saturday I attended a meeting in my electorate - I described this the other evening - mainly of unemployed migrant workers. Some of them are married with children. I ask honourable members opposite how they would like to live on §30 a week, or thereabouts, out of which they would be paying anything from $15 to S25 in rent for something which is euphemistically called a fla but which is often 2 rack-rented rooms let by some unscrupulous landlord. Plenty of that is going on. To suggest that there is in Australia a surplus of houses of a decent standard is absurd. We are going to have social problems of considerable magnitude in this country in the months ahead. 1 think the Treasurer twitted my leader because he talked about another 50,000 unemployed. 1 shall quote what he said:

False pride and failed policies threaten at least another 50,000 Australian jobs.

What he meant - if it were not clear enough - is that if action is not taken this situation is going to get worse. Any action taken by the Government last week and in the days before will not do much to absorb into employment the unskilled and semi-skilled males in Australia. If unemployment even maintains itself - I cannot see that it is going to decline below the level of 100,000 for the rest of this calendar year - a preponderant number will be these unfortunate people who have no-one and nothing else to fail back upon. Are they going to live through a summer, an autumn and a winter to a Christmas on - sums of the magnitude of $35. Will anybody on the other side of the House say that 4 people living together in a “family unit in Australia can do so decently on less than $50 a week? Yet that is the magnitude of the Government’s approach. We believe that the unemployment benefit ought to be treated as what it is - a benefit, and not just a dole. Surely honourable members cannot say (hat these people are out of work and it is their own fault. Least of all can they say that about any junior who is out of employment. He has left school in the hope and belief that constructive employment was ready for him.

Maybe those are the short term difficulties but the long term problems of this economy are serious and they are not being looked at by this Government. It looks for something to turn up. Tonight the Treasurer said that he could find 24 out of 33 selected statistics which suited his argument. I suggest that he have a look at the structure of unemployment and at the quarterly figures adjusted for current prices. Then can be say that he believes we have a dynamic, flexible, continually moving economy? We do not have any such thing. We will not have it until we begin to have some sense of social priority in this country. We have said - and I reiterate - that people in the country know there is a desperate shortage of certain amenities. We in the cities know there is a shortage of all kinds of things - cultural, physical and so on. In Australia what we should have all the time are more jobs available than people to fill them. If we do not have that it is because we are not properly managing the economy. Honourable members can argue if they like that there are too many people in this kind of industry as against too many people in that kind and that if there is a shortage of manpower then there ought to be some sensible priority for getting one lot of people from one industry to another. But, for instance, can anybody say that the people who were discharged from General Motors-Holden’s Pty Ltd a few weeks ago were discharged because of the theory that , people should be spilled out of that industry into some other industry? Those people were laid off because, as I read earlier from the Treasurer’s statement, there had been a decline in the real consumer spending and people who previously would have bought a car were either holding off or not buying at all. In that sort of context it would have been more sensible to lower the price of the car. The Government could have done this by lowering the amount of sales tax which it imposed.

But what is more pathetic than the defences in this speech about finding employment in rural areas and the old devices of sweeping up leaves or filling potholes instead of doing something which is socially constructive? I suppose it is belter to do that than to do nothing but, that is not what a purposeful social policy ought to be in the 1970s. I shall conclude on this note because I think this is central to the theme that it is time the Government got off the stool that the only thing wrong with the economy is greedy wage earners seeking higher wages. There is talk about what is being described as an incomes policy. There are a lot of arguments for and against this. Candidly, I am against it. I must say that if it were to be introduced 3 conditions would be essential to its introduction. There must be agreement between government, employers and employees upon the detail of the scheme. It is not a scheme which can be forced down from the top to the bottom. The very fact that the Government goes into the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to resist wage increases is not much of an indication of a bona fide desire to develop trust or co-operation between the productive elements in the economy, lt is about time there was a more civilised attitude to this problem. I commend to those who are concerned about this scheme the short notes which were issued on one of the library lists the other day. This is an account of an outline of an address given by the Right Honourable Aubrey Jones to the Economic Society of Australia and New Zealand, Canberra branch. He indicates that what we have to try to build is a better relationship between employer and employee. I would suggest that a tightening of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act and intervening in the court against wage increases that are inevitable, as long as. one does nothing to regulate the price of goods and services, will not build good industrial relationships instead it will bring about a good deal of discontent in the future.

I do not know why the Treasurer made his statement this evening because nothing has been added that one did not know. There is no change in the attitude of the Government which still thinks that the problems of the economy will solve themselves. Unless there is more active participation and consideration of what - are the roots of our present discontent, the situation unfortunately will not get better; it will stagnate and get worse. The victims will be the unskilled and the semi-skilled in our country, as well as those who have been brought to its shores. 1 submit that immigration ought to be stopped until unemployment has dropped below the current level. I think it is criminal to bring people to Australia while . unemployment exists. Among those who were sacked by General Motors-Holden’s Pty Ltd the other day were a large number of Egyptians. The Australian motor car industry could not have been built to its present strength without migrant workers. Surely there is some social obligation upon a company of this type which has taken millions of dol lars annually out of the hides of Australian users of cars, to do something humanitarian about its employees. But these companies make a bad situation worse by simply saying that because no cars are being made this week or next week as a result of a temporary slump in the economy, the services of its employees will be dispensed with without waiting until the slump eases. I do not know either whether that large firm, the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd, has exercised much more social responsibility this week. Unless those who wield large blocks of economic power in this country display a degree of social responsibility, trade unions will continue to do the only thing they know - to organise collectively to maintain and to improve their conditions of employment.

Debate (on motion by Mr Fox) adjourned.

page 279


Second Reading

Debate resumed (vide page 266).


– We are debating a Bill for an Act to amend the Dairy Produce Export Control Act 1924- 66. The purpose of the Bill is to permit the Dairy Produce Board to use funds, other than its fully committed stabilisation funds, for the continuance and extension of its operations in Australia and overseas. The Board is to be congratulated on its foresight and enterprise in exercising initiative in establishing milk recombining plants in South East Asia. By so doing the Board has opened up new markets for dairy products and has provided a necessary food source for people in and around Singapore, Manila, Bangkok, Djakarta and Phnom Penh.

Since 1963 the Board has shipped to plants butter oil and skim milk powder valued at S36m. It is estimated that this year about 10,000 tons of butter in the form of butter oil, and 30,000 tons of skim milk powder worth some $15m will be shipped. Those figures indicate the extent to which the Board has succeeded in developing new outlets for dairy produce from Australia. It is because of the work done by the Board and the opportunities for expanding its operations under the provisions of this Bill, that I wish to express support on behalf of ‘he dairy farmers and other electors in the south west of Western Australia. The Board’s initiative and expertise have contributed to a new attitide of hope and security that is discernible in dairy areas. I congratulate the Board and the industry on it. I have pleasure in supporting ‘he Bill. ‘ Mr BUCHANAN (McMillan) (9.15)- The purpose of this Bill is to make possible the expansion of existing markets aid to secure new markets for dairy produce. It is very pleasing to see that the Opposition is supporting this measure. I think that this is one of the rare occasions in which we find we are all in harmony in wanting to do something to improve the state of a very valuable industry which has done so much for Australia, but which over the last few years has had a pretty bad time. Al present however, the dairying industry happens to be doing father well but we still have to look to the future.

The Australian Dairy Produce Board is constituted to take the necessary action to expand existing markets or secure new markets. Indeed, this is the purpose of the Board, lt is always assumed that these will be overseas markets because the Board was set up to look after export trade. In the 1960s when surpluses were becoming so hard to dispose of, the Board set out to establish milk recombining plants in South

East Asia. This was a commercial’ venture which was undertaken in conjunction with -local capital in the various areas to which the Board went. The Board has performed a great service to the industry by creating ah outlet for skim milk powder and by taking a lot of butter for which no market existed and, in a sense, because of the prices at which the Board was able to dispose of it, was dumping it on the market. Of course, the return to the dairy farmer at farm gate was often as low as 7c or . 8c per lb of butterfat. Therefore, although the work of the Board was very good the actual return to the farmer was not as beneficial as we would have liked.

The effect on equalisation in those days was catastrophic. But as farmers, persisted iri increasing output to keep incomes up to try to reach a decent living standard, this wa« one way of getting n(i 0f unwanted surpluses. At that time many other countries ako had surpluses and world but ter slocks had grown until at one stage the surplus was over 500,000 tons. This mountain of butter overshadowed the whole market. Bui the surplus melted away and conditions have changed. The latest forecasts for the European Economic Community countries point to a build-up of 265,000 tons by the end of 1972. I regret to say that many people do not seem to understand or recognise that the industry, having reached a peak, is now facing a return to the bad old days.

The Board has conducted these ventures overseas in a very successful way from its point of view if we regard its actions as ensuring some outlet for the excessive production which could not otherwise have been sold and if we regard its efforts as forward looking insurance against the time when the United Kingdom would enter the EEC, which is set down for 1st January 1973. Australia will then lose its only profitable outlet. Actually, on paper these joint ventures have been quite profitable as far as the Board is concerned. For most of the 7 years in which the Board has been conducting these enterprises the prices paid for Australian skim milk powder and butter oil have been at a premium over world prices although, of course, contracts are well under the prices being enjoyed at present. These prices possibly will prevail for another 18 months or perhaps, with luck, 2 years. But then conditions will return to normal. These producers also have progressed well, viewed from the standpoint of the increased share of the local markets gained for the companies that have been set up. In Thailand, the market has risen from 3 per cent in 1967 to approximately 50 per cent today. In Indonesia the share of ie market stands at 75 per cent. The industry has a 100 per cent share of the market in Cambodia, small though that market is. The share of the market in the Philippines is 20 per cent.

It is expected that this year these overseas plants will take 30,000 tons of skim milk powder and approximately 10,000 tons of butter oil. These exports will be worth approximately SI 5m. This is a very valuable business. Apart from the return for raw materials, the Board has earned, more than $4m as its share of profits on capital invested. Also, it is helping in the nutritional requirements of the people of this area and building up goodwill for

Australia as a good neighbour and friend. These profits, incidentally, have been ploughed back to develop existing plants and to establish new plants. The money for capital has come from industry funds built up under post-war contracts with the United Kingdom, although it is not clear to me why this money did not come back to producers through equalisation. Anyhow, this source, of funds is finished. This Bill has been introduced to give the Board power to use other moneys that it may be able to set aside for the expansion of thi-, type of investment. This proposal should be warmly applauded by everyone concerned for the future of the dairy industry. 1 believe that it is.

While on the subject of the activities of the Australian Dairy Produce Board, I put forward the suggestion that the Board should he concerned with the Australian market, which has potential for great expansion. We seem to bc concentrating too much on overseas marketing because of the freak prices that rule today. What I am interested in is taking advantage of today’s unexpected profitability to set the. foundation on which we may build a viable Australian industry in the future. I am looking ahead 10 or 20 years, not just one Or 2 years. At the present time, overseas sales are lifting equalisation returns to record levels. This is opposed to the normal pattern in which the farmer receives so much less for his surplus over the local market requirement that often it would be belter for him to direct his energies and finance into some other activity if he wished to maximise his return from his farm. This is a matter for his business judgment. This situation is obscured by the equalisation payments being in the form of one sum rather than showing how much is received on the local market and how much comes from overseas. At the present time, the overseas market is returning more than the local market. So, the picture is very confused. But, in the long term, it is the home market return which, will decide the profitability of the producer.

The local market is capable of vast expansion, even in butter sales, if the funds available were better directed. Most of the $2m a year that is available from the marketing fund for butter is spent inefficiently because no real determination exists to direct promotion into channels for expanding products using butterfat as a whole. Too often it seems that the money is being spent merely because it is available. So, advertising of some sort is carried out to use it up. The Australian Dairy Produce Board could easily sponsor the establishment of cultured milk products including butter powder, butter oil, the milk biscuit and other new products. A recent proposal to set up a cheese bureau seems to have been bypassed largely because some Board members are interested financially in the promotion of imported cheese. Voting methods for electing Board members do not encourage the appearance of vigorous independent marketers. We badly need some principle, such as is seen in the membership of the Australian Wool Board, where some membersare elected not because they are involved in wool production but because they have special experience in marketing, in finance or in advertising. These are fields in which the producer usually is very sadly lacking in experience.

Some changes in personnel in the Australian Dairy Produce Board are imminent as members retire because of age, but more than these changes is needed. One essential seems to be greater representation from Victoria as .the major producer and also to broaden discussions by obtaining the viewpoint of the various factions in the battle of politics which is going on in the Victorian organisations. These definitely, are holding the industry back at a time when it must come up with an answer that is the considered view of the whole of the dairy industry, not any one section of it.

One of the points of- the current 8-point plan put up by the Australian Dairy Industry Council is the banning of the importation of cheese. This proposition cannot be sustained until such time as local cheeses can supply the requirements of our market. Australia produces superior cheeses of just about every type available here, but, without a concerted promotion drive we cannot hope to manufacture in sufficient quantities to overpower the competition of imports, particularly as some leading figures in the Australian Dairy Produce Board and the Australian Dairy Industry. Council - very largely, they are the same people - have a vested interest in promot-ing imports. There is only one factory in

Australia making Camembert cheese. It is at Moe in Victoria. I use it to illustrate the position with cheese in Australia. Camembert is a type of cheese that is dependent for its delicate flavour on a rather tricky fermentation process. It is not an easy cheese to make. The manufacturer must be very careful about the cultures which are present. If it is held too long before it is marketed and consumed,, it develops an acidity, becomes very full flavoured and has too much bite for the average person.

What do overseas cheese makers do? They know that they cannot export to Australia genuine Camembert. So, they pasteurise their product in tins and produce a dead product which no-one would eat if he had the experience of eating the live Australian product at its best. The same sort of cheese is available overseas. But in Australia a consumer cannot obtain cheese from overseas of the same quality as that on sale overseas. This just is not possible. Some cheeses ripen too much. But no-one would buy this dead product if he tried the live Australian product. There are similar stories but I will not go through all of them. For instance, there are only 3 factories in Australia producing blue vein cheese.

Mr Katter:

– It is very good.


– -It is ‘ very good indeed. We produce these excellent cheeses which people should be buying instead of imported cheeses. I have yet to’ see an imported cheese which has the true flavour which is found in Australian cheeses such as edam, gouda, samsoe and so on. Unfortunately, some of the people on the Australian Dairy Produce Board have a vested interest, one of them’ being the greatest marketer of blue vein cheese in Australia. Why do we import cheese when it could be made in our own factories? If we were looking at this problem from the Australian viewpoint, that is what we should be doing.

The idea that I was trying to express about a cheese bureau, as I visualised it when it was mentioned to me, was that it would promote cheese through shops specialising in cheese and allied products, which would give the Australian people an opportunity to buy good Australian produce at reasonable prices instead of buying the higher priced, less flavoursome imported products which are being pushed by the delicatessen trade because of the higher markup and profit which they can make. Anyone who heard the honourable member for Macarthur (Mr Jeff Bate) this afternoon giving comparisons of the enormous markups on some of these imported cheeses will understand what I mean.

Much has been done by the establishment of a cheese club in Victoria. This is now spreading to branches in some country areas and is moving interstate. But the proposal for the establishment of a cheese bureau is a more direct attack on the problem. With a levy of only one-fifth of a cent per pound on local sales of cheese, a sum of $200,000 would be available. Cheese is the main growth product for the dairy industry and it should be pushed for all it is worth through well planned, skilfully directed promotion. In this Bill we are concentrating on the very worthwhile project of enabling the Australian Dairy Produce Board to go ahead where it sees the opportunity to get into new markets. The dairy industry has a tremendous future in front of it if it can only see where it is going and can plan production on . an individual basis. But we have to know what the returns will be. If the returns from some of these overseas markets are to be as low as they were 2, 3 or 4 years ago, then the individual farmer has to be given all the facts and figures. He has to be given one set of figures for the home market and another set of figures for the overseas market, instead of combined figures which blur the picture.

The Dairy Produce Board itself has to do a lot of rethinking. It has established some very worthwhile markets in South East Asia, and so long as this operation can be conducted on a profitable basis and so long as the people who are producing the product can make a reasonable living out of it, that is all right. But the Board has to be vitalised by appointing to it some vigorous, independent members who will liven it up and see that the opportunities in Australia are developed to the utmost. I believe that we can go a long way further in developing and selling to the Australian people the new products which the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and other bodies have produced. But this can be done only by the Australian Dairy Produce Board taking up the promotion of these products as special projects and giving them as much attention as it gives to overseas markets or even more.


-] will not delay the House for long. I agree with the honourable member for McMillan (Mr Buchanan) who said that the purpose of the Bill is to enable the Australian Dairy Produce Board to engage in new markets. There are a couple of observations that I wish to direct to the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair), but before doing so I should like to refer to the history of the dairy industry, so far asI am concerned. In 1961-62, when Britain commenced negotiations to enter the European Common Market and was told that it would not be permitted to do so, we were informed that we had to diversify and to try to find other markets for our dairy products. From that period onwards - and this is the point to which I come very briefly - we were told by the Australian Dairy Produce Board and by all the market - observers on behalf ofthe Australian Government that there had been a build-up - of up to 500,000 tons of butter in the Common Market countries. The production of butter in the Common Market countries was being subsidised and butter was being exported even to the Middle East countries. Despite the efforts of the Australian Dairy Produce Board, butter was being dumped in those Middle East countries at between 21c and 25c per lb. The point is - that if this tremendous build-up of butter stocks existed in the Common Market countries, why were not we advised by people, such as the Australian trade commissioners in the Common Market countries, that this so-called accumulation of butter stocks did not exist? As it transpired, they did not exist.

I will acquaint tbe Minister with definite facts. Let us say, for example, that in France 25,000 tons of butter were certified in one area. This quantity of butter did not exist, but as it supposedly moved from one country to another country amongst the 6 Common Market countries it attracted a subsidy, there was a book entry, and there was a build-up of stocks. This was the malpractice which occurred in the 6 Common Market countries. Although during the 1960s we were threatened with a tremendous build-up of butter, particularly in the Common Market countries, apparently it did not exist. The premise on which the Government, a couple of years ago, asked the Australian producers to restrict the production of butler to 220,000 tons was not valid. The producers of this country, under a voluntary system, cut back production. The butter factories said to the producers: ‘Please do not go over a certain figure’. This false premise on which the Government based its production figures and quotas caused a great deal of hardship to people not only on my area but also in other parts of Australia.

Many dairy farmers were forced to say to their sons: ‘I am sorry, but there is nothing in the dairying business for you*. So they turned to cows and vealers. When it is obvious that the figures produced by the Government showing tremendous stocks in the Common Market countries were incorrect and that those supposed stocks did not exist, one is entitled to say: Surely to goodness the Government with the expert services available to it should have been able to establish that the figures were incorrect. Instead, the Government introduced into the dairy industry restrictions which caused tremendous hardship for many people. Because .of that the Government has now sponsored for. the .industry ‘. a 2-quota system which involves an overall view of the market, demand from, overseas, plus the home market demand. This system will attract a Government subsidy. Under the dairy produce marketing scheme production above the quotas will not attract a subsidy. I understand that the scheme has been submitted to the Australian Agricultural Council and that the only State that has held out is Tasmania. Perhaps the Minister could correct me on that point.

Mr Sinclair:

– It is Victoria.


– It seems that Victoria realises that there is now a world shortage of dairy products. Victoria’s attitude indicates that the projections of market demand put forward not only by the present Minister for Primary Industry but also the previous Minister for Primary Industry have been incorrect. Australia is one of the major dairying nations of the world. We employ experts overseas. In addition to representatives of the Australian Dairy Produce Board we have government marketing services and other people employed at great expense overseas. Surely they could have advised us that the stocks allegedly built up in Common Market countries did not exist.

Dairying production in Australia has been restricted by a certain quota. This meant, in the first instance, that the butter factories asked their suppliers voluntarily to hold production at a certain level and not to expand. We did not have the raw material to produce powdered milk and casein. The prices for these materials were running at an unprofitable level. I do not have the figures with me, but I have pointed out before that the price of powdered milk reached an all time low of about $200 a ton. At this time last year the price of powdered milk was between $400 and $450 a ton. At about this time last year, or perhaps at about April or’ May last year, the price of casein rose to an all time high of about $700 to $800 a ton.

Mr Buchanan:

– It is higher now.


– Yes, it is much higher now. We are debating a Bill which will enable Australian dairy produce to enter new markets. On behalf of dairy producers in my area I would like to know why the Government must enter the field and impose quotas. They will not. work. An industry like dairying is dependent upon the seasons. In Queensland, northern New South Wales and Victoria there may be one flush season and then a drought, but over a period 1 would think that the seasons would balance out. I do not think any government should impose restrictions on production as this Government has done. The Government certainly has done a lot of damage to the dairy, industry in Tasmania by the imposition of restrictions willy-nilly on dairying production. Those restrictions were imposed because of the fear of a tremendous build up of stocks in the Common Market countries, but those stocks did not exist. Trade commissioners and other people are paid high salaries overseas to advise the Government on marketing. Surely they should have known that the supposed build up of stocks in the Common Market countries did not exist.

I urge the Government not to proceed with the 2-quota system because at present there is a demand for dairy products. Previous speakers in this debate have praised the Australian Dairy Produce Board for entering Asian markets and I also applaud its tremendous effort following World War II. The Australian Dairy Produce Board was responsible for the production of cheese sticks and the introduction of Australian cheese into Japan. That was a great leap forward and worthy of commendation. Cheese displays were organised by the Board in various stores and emporiums in Japan and the introduction of Australian cheese into the diet of the Japanese was a significant development.

As other honourable members have pointed out, the Australian Dairy Produce Board has entered markets in South East Asia. I have referred before in the House to the combination of Australian condensed milk and overseas labour. With the help of funds from the old stabilisation plan the Australian Dairy Produce Board has certainly done a tremendous job for the Australian dairy industry. I return to the point that I have been making and again ask the Minister on what basis it was assumed that there was a need for curtailment of production. The calculation of stocks in Common Market countries made a couple of years ago caused a great deal of trouble and anxiety to .butter producers throughout Australia, particularly in Tasmania. I believe that it was based entirely on false grounds, it has been proved that the stocks thought to have existed in the Common Market countries did not exist at all. The fact of the matter was that stocks were simply traded from one Common Market Country to another and book entries made simply to attract a subsidy. Surely Australia should have known something about that situation.

The Government stands guilty of having misled the dairy farmers a couple of years ago when it called for the imposition of voluntary quotas on Australian dairy producers, lt will take a long time for our producers and butter factory managers to regain some sort of confidence in any predictions or information given or requests made by this Government. We have gone through the mill and we know that our people have lost money simply by meeting this Government’s request to curtail production in order to achieve these voluntary restrictions. So when the Government asks them again to curtail production in order to meet a certain requirement it will have to come up with some definite proof that the need for it is there. Certainly it has misled these people in the past and they will not put up with it again. 1 commend the Bill because, as the honourable member for Macmillan has said, it does assist the Australian Dairy Produce Board with its new markets.


– -It is easy to see how the dairy farmers of Australia get confused when one listens to this debate tonight with its contradictory array of facts and figures. Some of the facts are no doubt up to date and we know that some of the facts are at least 12 months or 2 years out of date. And it could be said that some of the figures were never fact but pure fancy. Basically it has been a constructive debate; at least it was until the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) started speaking, and then it became a diatribe which bore little relation to the fact. T was pleased to hear the honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Duthie), the next speaker from the other side of the House, make a constructive speech. One of the points in the speech of the honourable member for Riverina, was an accusation about selling the dairying industry short. He said Government policy was responsible for driving people out of the industry and this sort of thing and creating a lack of confidence in Australian dairy farmers. 1 have never heard this from the Government, but one person who I know has said it and made more damaging statements about the dairying industry in Australia than anybody else is the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Mr Hawke. He has said on more than one occasion - he said it in New Zealand before Christmas - that in his view Australia should be importing butter from New Zealand. 1 can remember attending a conference of the Australian Agricultural Economic Society in Melbourne in 1970 at which he was one of the speakers. He then advocated the phasing out of the Australian dairying industry so that all our dairy products could be brought in from New Zealand. I have not heard the

Australian Labor Party dissociate itself from any of Mr Hawke’s statements and I would be very interested to hear its attitude on this latest statement. As for anybody on the other side of the House accusing the Government of denigrating the dairy industry and destroying its confidence, I would have thought that the man who has done most in this regard is their own shining star, Mr Hawke.

Another statement made by the honourable member for Riverina was that the Government had rejected the idea of a cheese bureau. If the honourable member had bothered to get a little closer to the dairy industry to find out what was going on he would know that the cheese bureau proposal has not yet reached the Government. It is still being discussed at the Australian Dairy Industry Council level. He also stated that we could not supply our recombining plants in South East Asia at the present time and that we were terribly short and had to do this and that. I would not dispute the fact that there is an attempt to obtain small amounts of supplies from other countries, but the major reason why the Australian Dairy Produce Board has had to do this is that several Australian dairy manufacturing companies have reneged on undertaking they gave to the Board to supply these plants. It is not in the best interests of the dairy industry to have factories, for their very short-term advantage, by-passing a ‘ new project or a series of projects that have been of tremendous value to the Australian dairying industry. It cannot be said that this skim milk powder would have been sold at low prices. As I understand the prices for skim milk powder at the present time, the home price basically is about $325 a ton. The reconstitution plants were offering S362 a ton and the general 12 month average export trader to trader price for skim milk powder is $316 per ton. So it cannot be said that there was any form of giveaway or subsidy to these recombing plants.

It has been mentioned tonight that the profit ability of the recombining plants at present is not very high. The counterpoint of this is that the higher prices they have had to pay for dairy materials have meant greater profits for the Australian dairy farmer who has obtained these higher prices for his products. So it cannot be said to be any loss to the Australian dairy industry. The benefit is going to a different section of the industry, the supplier - the dairy farmer himself - perhaps a little quicker. The honourable member for Braddon (Mr Davies) seems to think that the dairy products stock pile never existed in Europe. This is a very curious understanding of the position because I have in front of me a publication entitled Dairy Notes’, the latest issue, put out by the Department of Primary Industry and a table based on agri-Europe which is accepted as an authoritative account of agricultural marketing statistics in Europe, lt gives these figures: The butter stock pile at the end of 1968 was 330,000 tons, at the end of 1969 336,000 tons, at the end of 1970 160,000 tons and at the end of 1971 130,000 tons. We know that in the last 2 weeks the figure has increased - that is, to the end of January or mid-February - to about 190,000 tons, and dumped sales of butter have been recommended by the European Economic Community. If the stockpile never existed why is it that European countries were selling or dumping butter in South East Asia and on other markets at virtually give-away prices which brought the price for our exports of dairy products down to the very low figures that obtained in the late 1960s. I find it hard to believe that the EEC would have spent millions of dollars in South East Asia - virtually giving this product away if that stockpile had not existed.

It is always easy to be wise after the event but it is a credit at least to the dairying industry in Australia that the voluntary restrictions which were sought in 3 States. Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. 2 seasons ago, were lifted within 3 months. I happened to be dairying at the time and ‘the calves we were running on 3 J per cent of our cows were booted out. We put the cows back into the herd and our total production did not alter that year. But in other countries in that year there were far more severe restrictions. The EEC undertook cow slaughter and milk diversion and in Australia and Switzerland there were similar projects. In New Zealand there were far more definite attempts to move people away from dairying than there were in Australia.

I refer now to a matter that was before the Australian Agricultural Council. A special committee of senior departmental officials has been set up since the last Council meeting to consider the next 5-year plan and, in particular, the 2-price mechanism. The 2-price mechanism will not be a restriction on production as such. It will be up to the individual producer to decide whether he can produce at the second price, on which there will be no quantitative restriction. I was pleased to read the Press Statement from the Agricultural Council released by the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair). It reads:

Mr Sinclair said that there was general agreement that the immediate implementation of the quota proposals was not necessary until market circumstances changed. The Australian Agricultural Council agreed to accept in principle the necessity to plan for a flexible scheme of production control which could be applied when necessary.

Mr C. Chandler, Victorian Minister for Agriculture, indicated that the Victorian Government would agree to the operation of a scheme which would enable the industry to reduce production temporarily if this became necessary to meet reduced export markets. 1 would remind the Minister that I represent the area in which there is probably the greatest expansion and potential expansion of dairying in Australia. I agree that it is wise to have a scheme ready if things do go badly for the industry in future. We must have a scheme. From what I can see so far, the scheme that is evolving is equitable for all dairy farmers in Australia, including those in Victoria. The 2-price mechanism will be introduced only when necessary. I was very pleased to see the Minister’s statement to this effect after the Agricultural Council meeting.

I agree with the honourable member for Braddon who congratulated the Australian Dairy Produce Board on its development of the dairy market in Japan. Japan is one of the great growth markets for dairy products. The growth of the market there is one of the success stories for the Dairy Produce Board and for certain dairy factories. Combined with this market is the fact that cheese is the dairy industry’s growth product. Cheese is one of the few products the consumption of which will increase as the standard of living increases. There is a world-wide increase in the consumption of cheese at present, lt is expected that the consumption of cheese in Japan will double in the next 10 years. Australia has the lion’s share of the export market in Japan; slightly under one-third of Japan’s cheese imports come from Australia. At the moment the imports are divided evenly between gouda and cheddar. The Australian Dairy Produce Board is to be congratulated for getting in on the Japanese school lunch programme some years ago and for promoting the taste for cheese and the taste for Australian cheese.

At present the Girgarre Cheese Company Pty Ltd, which is in my electorate, is the major supplier of Gouda cheese to Japan. The recent announcement by the MurrayGoulburn Co-operative, which also is in my electorate, of a $3m joint venture with Snow brand dairy products of Japan, the largest dairy company in Japan, and Mitsubishi to produce in a joint venture programme 5,000 tons of Gouda cheese a year for the Japanese market is very welcome news.. It is welcome news because cheese is the one product for which in the : future we can be sure of export markets. Also we have increased sales’ of butter to Japan. At the risk of labouring the point, another factory in the electorate, at Tatura, has been the substantial seller of butter to Japan. - 1 repeat that cheese is the industry’s growth product. Whereas previously I may have criticised dairy factory managers for taking the short-term view with regard to the skim milk powder supply to recombining plants, it is heartening to see a number of factories taking the long term view on dairying and putting time, money and effort into diversifying their dairy products, particularly cheese. At the moment it is more profitable for a dairy factory to produce skim milk powder and butter than to produce cheese, but it is good to see that more factories are manufacturing specialty cheeses. Certainly there is room for this in our home market. There is certainly room for a product of a more consistent quality than we have at the present time. The honourable member for Macarthur (Mr Jeff Bate) spoke earlier about cheese. This is a subject about which he knows a great deal. But some of the figures of cheese imports that he gave are hopelessly out of date. He was talking about a situation which existed about 12 months ago. Since the end of 1970 anti-dumping duties have been imposed on the import of non-cheddar cheeses. These have reduced the amount of noncheddar cheese coming into this country.

In 1969-70 cheese imports were” 6,574 tons. For the year 1970-71, after the antidumping duties came in about half-way through the year, cheese imports were 5,808 tons. I understand that the only significant increase in imported cheese in the last few months has been in the fetta variety. This may be of some concern to the honourable member for Macarthur. The Tariff Board report on imported cheese is awaited. The Australian Dairy Produce Board consists of 13 members: 3 representing dairy farmers, 6 representing co-operative factories, 2 representing private factories, 1 representing the employers and 1 representing the Commonwealth Government. I do not hold any sinister views of the activities of the Australian Dairy Produce Board or of its members, but I believe that- there is a case for increasing the representation of dairy farmers on that board. In .the amendment to the legislation before, us at the present time we are talking about spending dairy farmers’ funds, and. it .is the Australian Dairy Produce Board that will be entrusted with the spending of those funds. In this :situation I. think it is only right that consideration be given to increasing the number of representatives of the dairy farmers, who really are the industry.

The final point I wish to make is on the need for buffer stocks to be accepted as part of the general international trading situation, not only in dairy products but in a great number of agricultural products. We should be able to have a reasonable stockpile or buffer stock of a particular product without causing any panic. Over a period of years the grain industry has developed this method. A buffer stock is now accepted as being helpful to the industry because it can iron out the fluctuations caused by seasonal differences in different parts of the world. No doubt there are problems not only with disastrously low prices but also sometimes with high prices through a temporary short supply. We are seeing this happen with butter in the United Kingdom at the present time.

In the grain industry this buffer stock has been developed to the stage where the European Economic Community and the United States of America have been able to get together and say that they agree to increase the stockpile of grain to help to stabilise world grain prices. I believe that the wool industry is coming to this position. It is being accepted that a wool buffer stock, up to a reasonable level, is a good thing for the industry and not a bad thing. If the Government had panicked 15 months ago on the question of taking the gamble on starting a stockpile of wool by allowing the reserve price operations of the Australian Wool Commission, Australia’s wool would virtually have been given away and this country would have lost hundreds of millions of dollars. I know that it is easier and cheaper to store wool and grain than it is to store dairy products, but I believe that the advantages of a guaranteed -supply and the great importance to the future stability of international trade in dairy products make it of vital importance that the international dairy community accepts the desirability and the inevitability of some form of buffer stock or stockpile situation.

It is here that the EEC must play a far more constructive role than it has played in the past. It holds the key to the future of world dairy trading - whether or not to produce a surplus and then dump it on world markets. Perhaps the overall base for this proposal would be an international dairy agreement. I cannot commend too strongly the efforts of our present Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony) in what he is trying to achieve in regard to an international dairy agreement. Some form of buffer stock situation and agreement amongst international dairy traders would be part of that agreement. I support the legislation and congratulate the Dairy Produce Board and the dairy factory managers of Australia on their initiative in finding new markets in a difficult situation for the dairying industry of Australia.

Assistant Minister assisting the Postmaster-General · Cowper · CP

– This debate has ranged over a very wide area. It is really an important matter, but I do not propose to detain the House for very long. I believe that the legislation is absolutely essential in order to sponsor the expansion of the marketing of dairy produce and, of course, that is the primary purpose of it. 1 was surprised to hear in this chamber this afternoon criticism by the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) and the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Gr sby). both of whom claimed that effective action had not been taken to promote the sale of dairy produce. This very measure is designed to assist in that direction. Of course it is a measure which is dependent entirely upon the actions already taken if we are to achieve the success in expanding the sale of dairy produce, particularly in South East Asia, which is the very aim of this legislation. I believe it is quite misleading for honourable members to have said in this debate that the actions of the industry itself and of the Government have not been directed in the best interests of the industry.

Dr Patterson:

– Who said that?


– Of course, it is very easy for the honourable member for Dawson to deny what he said by merely saying: Who said that?’ 1 suggest that he read Hansard tomorrow. If he does he will find, unless he has made some changes to his expressed words, that he was very critical indeed. His criticism was both by direct comment and by inference. I recall some of the words that he expressed. He said: We waited for people to come to this country to buy our produce but we did not go out and try to sell it.’ Of course nothing is further from the truth.

Dr Patterson:

– 1 rise to a point of order. I remind the honourable member that I was talking about wool at that stage.


– There is no substance in the point of order.


– There is an admission first hand. By inference there was an assertion that this industry had not been given the support by the Government and by the leaders of the industry that it deserved. I am sure that those people who are concerned with the welfare of the dairy industry know that there is no truth at all in these assertions. Then the honourable member for Riverina in typical style said that there had been a real writing down of the interests of the industry, that we had restricted production although the markets were there. I think the real nub of the matter is to be found, if one refers back to what the honourable member said, in his comment that in Europe today there is a falling off of production because farmers have realised that they do not want to be tied down to the care of their cows. If this remark is seen in its true light one realises straight away that the honourable member for Riverina is not at all interested in the welfare of the industry as a whole. He is concerned only with an attempt to make political capital out of a particular situation.

It is well known that a comparatively short time ago there was a surplus of 300,000 tons of butter in Europe. This in itself inhibited the marketing of Australian dairy produce. As a consequence, with the support of the Government, the industry took positive action to establish plants in South East Asia in order to create new markets and to sponsor the sale of dairy produce in an effective manner. Because of the success that has been attained in this direction we are tonight enacting legislation to assist financially the further expansion of this very necessary work. I believe that the legislation is timely. It is in the best interests of the industry and it will achieve results in the right direction. It is very unfortunate that we have criticism of what is being done to assist primary industry, and criticism that reflects on primary industry itself in matters of export marketing. It is well known that in the export field there have been extreme difficulties in recent years. In order to cope with those difficulties it is very necessary that we devise every means within our power to ensure that this country is able to gain an expansion of markets in any field that is open to it. This is the real purpose of this legislation.

I congratulate the Minister and the Government on what has been done to produce through this legislation a means of providing effective financial support for the expansion of the marketing of butter and other dairy produce, particularly in South East Asia. We have a situation in which the dairy industry can hope for some improvement in terms of both financial return and the scope of sales in the immediate future. This is a real consequence not only of Australia finding the need to go into specialist fields to produce commodities acceptable to new markets but also of the industry on a world wide basis finding a need to meet these periods of change and to gear itself to cope with the overall situation. I am sure that whilst there is a basis for some real heart to come into this industry in the immediate future we must still proceed with a degree of caution and that caution must, of course, be related to the ultimate effect of the European Economic Community.

We are not yet able to predict with certainty what the effect of the EEC will be on the sales of dairy produce. It is fair to assume that some of the support measures that will occur as well as some of the control measures in Europe could give the Australian dairy farmer an added opportunity, but at this stage this is surmise and for that reason this measure is important. It is equally important that we bear in mind the decision of the Austraiian Dairy Industry Council to have a 2-price quota plan implemented if the need arises. At the moment we have a voluntary system of restraint. This is all-important despite what has been said in this debate about the availability of markets and the prospects for sales: It would be folly for us to rush in and encourage over-production in the dairying industry. I sound that word of warning in the minutes remaining to me in this debate this evening.

We have seen in other industries the dire effects of over-production at a time when there has been some temporary opportunities for sales. The honourable member for Dawson knows full well the disastrous consequences of over-production, yet today he advocated, as did the honourable member for Riverina, that we should be encouraging production in order to utilise opportunities. But let us have positive proof that these opportunities exist and that we can market to an extent that would warrant gearing up and sponsoring increased production in this country.

The real motive of this legislation is to assist to dispose of our existing produce and it is part and parcel of a very serious attempt by the industry itself to find a reasonable level of production and relate that to the possibilities of realisations on the overseas markets. I believe that this is a correct approach. I trust that there will not be misunderstandings that could well come from some of the utterances we have heard in this debate.

Minister for Primary Industry · New England’ · CP

– in reply - I think it is increasingly important in all of our primary industries to relate what we produce to available markets. The debate around this measure has concentrated largely on the extent to which in the dairying industry it is possible to diversify outlets in order to generate greater returns for producers. It has been suggested tonight by some members of the Opposition that there was nothing to worry about in the days when there was an apparent surplus in the European Economic Community. It was also suggested that the realities of overproduction that appeared from the statistics available were not really realities but fictions created to try to hoodwink producers into moving out of the industry. Of course, that is not so. Indeed, unfortunately there is already a developing circumstance within the European Community which, as the honourable member for Murray (Mr Lloyd) said a moment ago, has led to current statistics showing a level of about 189,000 tons of butter in stocks, which I am told represents a surplus of around 50,000 tons. As a result the European Economic Community, with its price support mechanism, has already reintroduced export restrictions on bulk butter at the rate of $US400 per metric ton.

One of the critical problems of the dairy industry is the actions taken by other countries producing and selling in competition with Australia in markets which have been traditionally the major outlets for Australian butter exports. Of course, it was to combat the excess dependence on the United Kingdom market in particular, that the Australian Dairy Produce Board, with the complete support and backing of the Australian Government, has been endeavouring to diversify its outlets. Indeed, the establishment of milk recombining plants in the South East Asian area has been something which the Government has backed and sponsored, and which it regards as a very worth while effort of self help by the industry in order to face up to the realities of changing market circumstances.

I think that this debate must be viewed in the light of the general support given to the Australian Dairy Produce Board in its efforts to diversify outlets. At the same time it would be a pity if any dairy farmers who are listening to this debate tonight or who subsequently read the Hansard report of it, were to think that there is nothing to be concerned about in relation to market opportunities in the future. In the few words that I want to say at this closing stage of the debate I want to emphasise that, regrettably, there is in the world dairy market, particularly the market for manufactured milk products, a continued state of uncertainty. For example, we have been always very dependent upon what seemed to be a certain fairly substantial demand for butter and butter products in the United Kingdom.

Those honourable members who are interested in dairy exports will know that, as a result of the price increase in butter following the shortfall in European Economic Community supplies, there has been a reduction of some 25 per cent in the consumption of butter in the United Kingdom. I am advised that the Community’s intervention prices which will apply after Britain’s entry will probably be fixed at around the current levels of butter prices. So it is unlikely, if .those price relativities with margarine and other substitute products remain, that butter consumption will return to its former levels. That, combined with the already apparent increase in butter production in the European Economic Community and with other forces in the producing world - for example, the United States export position which this year has seen a sales programme involving sales of some 61,000 tons of butter but which at 1st December 1971 has still left stocks in the United States some 8,000 tons higher than the 60,000 tons in stock a year earlier - leads us to be apprehensive about future aspects.

It is for that reason that I completely endorse the proposals of the Australian Dairy Industry Council to introduce a 2- price quota scheme, a scheme which is designed not to be implemented immediately but which will be available to the industry to ensure that efficient producers will be able, within the protective devices provided by the Government, to operate profitably for that part of their production covered by the higher price. There is then to be outside that higher price quota a capacity for them to produce but to sell on the market at a price which relates to then prevailing market circumstances. It is essential, in my opinion, that State and Federal governments work towards the adoption of such a scheme so that it can be implemented at the time when market circumstances so dictate.

Mr Davies:

– When will it be introduced into the House?


– As I have intimated on other occasions, the ADIC proposals are in fact essential, in my opinion, for an adequate consideration of the next 5-year stabilisation proposals, which must be considered and debated in the Parliament this session, as the existing 5-year equalisation scheme expires on 30th June next. That means that there will be an examination of whatever proposals there are for the introduction of a 2-price quota scheme in conjunction with the introduction of the new period of stabilisation, whatever it might be. As far as I am concerned, it is essential that there be some mechanism which is recognised and accepted by the States so that, if there is to be a necessity for the adoption of production levels, whatever assistance is provided by the Commonwealth Government can be available immediately to those, who are traditional and efficient producers in the industry to enable them to continue to operate profitably. There should be a scheme which is not a purely Commonwealth scheme but one which, at the point of its implementation, will depend on the State instrumentalities rather than the Commonwealth instrumentality so that we can effectively consider the new 5-year scheme. To me the important part of the ADIC’s proposal is the States’ preparedness to introduce whatever State legislative measures may be necessary so that a 2-price scheme can be applied at such stage as it may be necessary.

Dr Patterson:

– Would it be complementary legislation?


– No, not complementary. I believe that it needs to be related to whatever proposals are produced for a stabilisation period after 1st July.

Mr Davies:

– Will they be introduced during this session of the Parliament?


– The stabilisation arrangements must be introduced into the Parliament during this session. Whatever proposals there are for the 2-price scheme are essentially a matter for the States rather than the Commonwealth to implement. I envisage that in our debate on stabilisation we will concern ourselves with what sort of action the States themselves are prepared to take. In other words, we will be considering the States’ adoption of, or preparedness to adopt, the ADIC proposals at the time we are considering the next programme for assistance to the dairy industry. The. position of the European Economic Community stocks and world market prospects is one of uncertainty, and I think it is foolish for those who in this House today and tonight have encouraged dairy farmers to produce without limit to think that by so doing they will add to the profitability of dairy fanners. It is essential in all primary industries that there be a relationship between what is produced and what can be sold at a profitable price. To my mind the ADIC’s 2-price proposals allow for the application of some reasonable measure of restraint in relation to available market outlets if present buoyant market prospects should deteriorate in any way.

The other thing to which I wanted to refer briefly was the concern expressed by some honourable members at the level of cheese imports. The honourable member for Murray has referred to recent statistics. I think that we all can recognise, that the Tariff Board examination will have a considerable bearing on the future level of these imports. At the same time I would stress that it is my opinion that one of the changes that have taken place in Australia, in the sense of the foods we eat, the wines we drink and so on, is partly the result of the influence of recent newcomers to this country. Many of their eating habits are not satisfied by the goods which we traditionally have produced here, and there would not be the demand for some of the fancy cheeses which are produced today if it were not for the cheeses that have been imported to cater for the tastes of newcomers to this country. I think it is essential, in developing the spread of fancy cheese manufacture, that there be an availability of some of these imported cheeses until such time as we are able to produce either a comparable product or a better product.

I believe that Australian fancy cheeses have developed enormously in the last few years. The quality of those cheeses is very high, but I think that those in the industry would be foolish to deny the stimulus that has been given to Australian consumption of fancy cheeses because there has been a capacity of importation of this range of cheeses to enable the development of this market. I believe that a level of protection is essential to the Australian industry. In my view an excess import would be to the detriment of Australian producers. But I still think it is necessary that, just as in our own export of cheese we try to persuade others to adapt their palates to the goods we can produce, here too there is a necessity for us to whet our appetite so that we may be able in turn to consume more than we now do. I am sure that even the honourable member for Sydney (Mr Cope) has an appreciation of cheese with his evening beer. For all those reasons I commend to the House this Bill which extends the powers of the Australian Dairy Produce Board in overseas investment and the spread of markets.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Third Reading

Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.

Bill (on motion by Mr Sinclair) read a third time.

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Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.

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Australian Aircraft Industry - Bangla Desh - Defence Forces Retirement Benefits - Grievance Debate

Motion (by Mr Sinclair) proposed:

That the House do now adjourn.


– I rise tonight to deal with a matter which is of considerable concern to the aircraft industry in Australia and of concern to honourable members. I refer to the procrastination of the Government on decisions whether to proceed with the production of the aircraft known as Project N which has been developed by the Government Aircraft Factories. This aircraft has been developed to a stage where it is very close to achieving an airworthiness certificate, but to date no encouragement has been given by the Government to the Government Aircraft Factories in the form of tangible evidence that it intends to proceed with production of the aircraft. For some months the Government Aircraft Factories have been seeking a guarantee of orders from the Government for this aircraft. During this time the gains which were made through the outstanding design and the outstanding work which was done by the Government Aircraft Factories in developing this aircraft have been dissipated because overseas manufacturers have been in the process of producing aircraft of a similar type.

Unless Government orders for the aircraft are placed very shortly there will be a situation where marketing of the aircraft will become impossible. Military orders provide the most obvious means for most major aircraft projects to get off the ground. It seems that this aircraft is admirably suited for close support operations for the Australian Army. I understand that the Australian Army would like to have the aircraft, if only Army personnel were permitted to fly it. I believe that to be the situation at the moment. I understand that a decision has been taken by the Royal Australian Air Force at Russell Offices in Canberra that the Air Force will take the aircraft so long as the Army will buy it and allow Air Force personnel to fly it. The Army would like to have the aircraft but, quite naturally, it wants its personnel to fly it. I do not blame the Army for that. In this way it at least would know where the aircraft was when it was wanted.

This has developed into a critical situation. Unless orders are placed very soon - I do not mean some time in the never-never - the whole project will collapse. We may be able to attract a small military order within Australia, but the commercialisation of the venture by sales to persons additional to sales to the Australian Government will fail because delivery dates will be set back so far that it will be impossible to market the aircraft.

At this stage I understand that the earliest delivery date would be available some time towards the end of next year.

I shall not mention other matters relating to the aircraft industry but I rose tonight because I believe that it is critical to the future of the Australian aircraft industry that the Government gives support immediately to this aircraft. If military orders cannot be placed now, it is necessary that the Government advance finance for the commencement of a production run of this aircraft. Even if it advanced funds for 10 or 20 aircraft, which at the quoted costs would not be a great deal of money in terms of Australian financing, it would enable the production of the aircraft to start now and even if marketing failed the aircraft is of such a nature that it could be used usefully in Papua and New Guinea and in many parts of Australia. I do not think there is any doubt that the marketing of the aircraft will succeed provided the Australian Government shows enough confidence in it to finance the necessary production and guarantee the finance necessary to back up its commercial sale.

I also want to refer to a matter which arose only today because it has a direct connection with the future of this aircraft. This morning in another place, Senator Poyser asked the Minister for Air (Senator Drake-Brockman) a question relating to the aircraft known as Project N. In his reply the Minister said:

As far as I am aware, the committee in the Department of Defence, comprising members of the Departments of the Army, Supply and Air, is still meeting to see whether there is a military need for this aircraft and whether that need is in the Air Force or the Army. A meeting, as far as I am aware, was held last Tuesday afternoon. That deals with the question as it relates to the Department of Supply. But, as Minister for Air, perhaps I should say to the Senate that the Royal Australian Air Force does not at this time have a specific requirement for an aircraft of the type of Project N, either to help in its own operations or to help in the operations of the Army which it carries out for the Army. The honourable senator will be aware that at the present time we have in operation helicopters and Caribou aircraft for direct Army support and we also have 20 DC3 aircraft still operating at various air bases.

I am sure those aircraft will be operating for a further 20 years and they are what the Army will get when it wants aircraft. The Minister continued:

So we really have a capability to assist the operations of the Army and also a capability to meet our own transport requirements for the present. Nevertheless, this committee is looking at where we can use Project N. But, until it establishes that there is a military need, I cannot say anything further.

I would say that the real thing the committee is looking at is who is to fly the aircraft - the air marshals or the generals^ - and that is the critical factor. I propose now to quote from a Press statement issued tonight by the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairbairn) on the same matter. It is a pity that the Minister for Defence did not take the opportunity to make the statement in the Parliament because this matter is of importance to the Parliament. In his Press statement the Minister said:

While there is not a pressing need tor the RAAF to add an aircraft of the type of Project N to its inventory at this stage the RAAF does not provide all the aviation requirements of the Army.

That is an interesting statement. The Minister for Air says that it does and the Minister for Defence says that it does not. I wish the Minister for Defence would say Go ahead and build the aircraft’, because that is the critical factor. I seek leave of the Minister for External Territories (Mr Peacock) and the House to incorporate in Hansard this Press statement so that honourable members and the public will know its contents.

Mr Peacock:

– I assume that the statement is, in fact, a statement issued by the Minister for Defence. I have not seen it, but as the honourable member is aware I am always prepared to assist in this respect.


– It is a copy of the Minister’s Press statement.


-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows):

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page 293


Statement by the Minister for Defence, Mr David Fairbairn, MP.

While there was not a pressing need for the RAAF to add an aircraft of the type of Project N to its inventory at this stage the RAAF does not provide all the aviation requirements of the Army.

Minister for Defence, Mr David Fairbairn, made this point when commenting on a statement by the Minister for Air that the RAAF did not at present have a requirement for such an aircraft as Project N.

Mr Fairbairn said that the Army had an Aviation Corps for meeting intimate aviation needs that could only be met by an organic aviation capability. It was this capability that could have a potential need for Project N.

He said that Project N was being considered in depth by the Department of Defence against a broad defence requirement, now and in the future.

An important consideration in the Government’s decision whether to proceed with production or not would be concern for the future of the Australian aircraft industry.

While Defence study was looking at a military need for such an aircraft, it was also examining the commercial and industrial aspects of the aircraft project.

Mr Fairbairn said the Government sponsored project had already attracted overseas interests and enquiries.

Government departments which use aircraft had been circularised and their response to such an aircraft as Project N had been encouraging.

Defence considerations, now in progress, were directed towards evaluation of the military version of Project N. Military flight evaluation tests had begun on February 5th, this year.

It was expected that the military flight evaluation and Defence considerations would be completed for decision by the Government by the end of April.

Mr Fairbairn said that the problems of maintaining an effective aircraft industry in Australia was of concern to the Government.


– Another part of that Press statement says that the evaluation of the aircraft is likely to be concluded towards the end of April. The aircraft has been flying for several months; it has practically achieved its airworthiness certificate. It is an aircraft that has outstanding characteristics. It can land and take off practically anywhere. It most certainly could get on and off the Melbourne Cricket Ground and I am not sure that it could not nearly land in the courtyards of Parliament House, such are the STOL characteristics of this aircraft. According to people who, I hope, would know, it is the best aircraft of its type in the world, and it is competitively priced. All it needs is for the Government of Australia to show sufficient confidence in the aircraft to enable production to commence and that involves providing the necessary funds. If the Government procrastinates any further and delays the entry into production any longer, marketing will become impossible because it will be too late to state delivery dates. The programme is already back beyond the middle of next year on delivery dates and it will get further and further back while the Government sits down and does absolutely nothing.

I commend those people who authorised the research, design and construction of the test aircraft and I condemn those people who, in their shortsightedness, are not providing the necessary finance for the production and manufacture of the aircraft. While the Government sits and does nothing about getting into production and spending about $10m or $12m to start an adequate production run, people at the Government Aircraft Factories and the Commonwealth Aircraft Factory Ltd are being paid out of Government subsidies which are provided because there, is not sufficient work to keep them occupied at present. On the one hand, the Government is handing out money for nothing and, on the other hand, it is not prepared to back a project which is of outstanding quality and which would give Australia a place in aircraft production in the world and would give encouragement to the design teams which created the aircraft.


– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.


– Earlier today I took part in the ‘Grievance Day’ debate and I mentioned some of the problems concerning the new sovereign State ofBangla Desh. However, time did not permit me to complete what I wished to say so I am taking the opportunity of doing so in the adjournment debate. Earlier this month I visited Bangla Desh and had discussions with Sheik Mujibur Rahman, the Prime Minister. He spoke to me with great emotion and told me something of the many problems confronting his people.Bangla Desh, with its 75 million people, is our newest sovereign state. It is a Commonwealth country and the people there have to rebuild their land from the ruins of war and genocide. They face a tremendous task. Thirty million people are homeless, and 50 per cent of the schools have been destroyed. The transport system has been completely disrupted as many railway bridges were blown up and few buses and only limited transport generally are now operating. In addition to this, three-quarters of the land has not grown a crop in the last 12 months. At present they are completely dependent upon relief supplies, as some 250,00 tons of food grains - that is, wheat and rice - are needed each month. In addition, 100,000 tons of high protein foods - skim milk powder, drugs, medicines, etc. - are required each month. They require 100,000 tons of cement, 50,000 tons of corrugated iron and 50,000 tons of building materials for the building of bridges, homes and other buildings. As I mentioned, these quantities of materials are needed monthly and will be required for the next 12 months on this basis.

Surely the future is not bright for these unfortunate people who have had to cope with 3 great catastrophes in the last 15 months. I have mentioned before in this House the tragic cyclone that occurred on the 9th, 12th and 13th November 1970. It ravaged the off-shore islands and coastal regions of East Pakistan, as the country was then known, killing 1.5 million people and leaving some 5 million people homeless. As honourable members know, only in last March there was a civil war in the country. There was genocide in many towns and villages. This resulted in some 10 million refugees fleeing to nearby Indian States, mainly West Bengal. The third catastrophe happened only last December when there was war with Pakistan. Surely no other country has had to endure 3 such catastrophes in the short space of 15 months.

I was pleased to hear the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) say in answer to a question this morning in this House that the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen) may visit Bangla Desh. I am sure he will be warmly welcomed as Australians are very popular in Bangla Desh at the present time. Australia was the first Western country to recognise the sovereign state of Bangla Desh. We have had a long association with that area going back to the early days of 1944 when Lord Casey was the Governor of Bengal, which included the new sovereign state of Bangla Desh. He was also Minister for External Affairs and he visited these areas many times. Because of the great need in the country I think it is important for our Minister for Foreign Affairs to go and see these things for himself. I am sure that he will approach them in a sympathetic and humanitarian way and that he will not be influenced too much from the point of view of the gross national product. This magical figure of 1 per cent of the gross national product that we seem to hear so much about is not the beginning and the end of overseas aid. It was intended in the first instance only to indicate a percentage at which foreign governments might aim in normal times but I stress again that these are not normal times. Bangla Desh has been confronted with these 3 great catastrophes and is in desperate need of assistance.

The visit of our Minister for Foreign Affairs to Bangla Desh is a very important one. He will be one of the first Foreign Ministers to go to that country and his visit will have an important bearing on our aid commitment. I am sure that he will approach the problems there in a sympathetic frame of mind and will consider them from a humanitarian point of view. No country has been confronted in this century with the problems that Bangla Desh has to face at the present time. The people of Bangla Desh have great faith and trust in their present Prime Minister, Sheik Mujibur Rahman, but they will soon become very disillusioned unless he provides much needed relief. In other words, unless he produces the goods he will not be very popular for very long.

Surely the people of Bangla Desh have suffered enough. On humanitarian grounds foreign countries must come to their assistance in a sacrificial way. We have a major part to play. The country urgently needs cash. I stress this point again: The country urgently needs cash today - not tomorrow - to buy tillers and irrigation equipment to get the land back into production. It is important that the people get the land into production and produce their own food. Cash is urgently needed to build homes and to help with rehabilitation programmes. This is why I stress that it is important that we make a cash contribution to provide immediate relief needs right now. This contribution should be supported with an amount of approximately $40m for a rehabilitation programme. In this case, Australia would take over the commitment for a certain area and send in not experts but practical people to get the land back into production as quickly as possible. This would be worked in conjunction with the building of homes, hospitals and schools. But I stress that an immediate cash grant of approximately $10m is needed now to meet immediate relief needs. The country faces tremendous problems and it is up to all foreign governments to come to its assistance in a sacrificial way. Otherwise, there will be mortality on an unprecedented scale. I am very pleased to hear that the Minister for Foreign Affairs will shortly visit Bangla Desh to assess the urgent needs of the people.


– I want to put a conundrum to the House: When is a pension not a pension? I think the answer would be when it is a Defence forces retirement benefit. A peculiar set of circumstances prevails in that servicemen pay into the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund and if they retire or become ill before completing 20 years service they are graciously awarded a pension. But if their earnings then exceed twothirds of the current rate of Service pension, they do not receive the pension. The pension is suspended, but the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Board kindly remembers that such men do not cease to have a right to a pension. Of course, it places many ex-servicemen who are living in Service homes in great difficulties. When they are retired from the Service it is necessary for them to vacate the Service home within a very short period. The anomaly that occurs here is that if they are not awarded a pension they collect the money that they have paid into the fund as a lump sum. This enables them to buy a home. But when the ex-servicemen are assessed in category B or category A they receive a pension which is suspended immediately they earn two-thirds of the Service salary. This is most unjust. I know that a select committee is dealing with this matter.

The ex-member for Maribyrnong, Colonel Stokes, and I thought we had some of this anomaly adjusted. We firmly believed that representations we had made had resulted in this matter being adjusted. But with ex-service people coming to see me I find out that this is not so. I know a serviceman who has been Honourably discharged on medical grounds. It is possible that the assessment will be a B assessment.

He has not had 20 years service. Because of his great ability he is likely to earn very much more outside the Service than he did within the Service. Of course he has not the capital available to put down on a home. He will have to leave the Service home within a short period. He is now paying $9 a week for this home. He will possibly have to pay up to $22 a week as rent. This is a most unjust and inequitable system which has evidently been overlooked for years. I appeal to Service Ministers and to the Minister who has responsibility for the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund - I think it is the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) - togo right into this matter and to give justice. Justice delayed is justice denied.

During the day we had a Grievance Day debate which is the preserve of the back benchers. It is wrong for Ministers to infringe upon this Grievance Day debate which belongs to us. The Leader of the House (Mr Swartz) very graciously came to me and said that he wanted to make an important statement. He wanted to know if I would disagree. I said no because of the circumstances. But the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon) stood up immediately after the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard). When I went to the Deputy Speaker to see what the position was the Minister chided me. Afterwards he came and apologised and stated that because of certain meetings in Tasmania he wanted to make the position clear. I do not think that this House would have denied either Minister the right to make any statement outside the Grievance Day debate. The honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) made a speech in reply to the Treasurer’s statement on economic conditions and policy. We may not agree with the honourable member but he does his work and his speech is well worth listening to. While he was making his speech he was handed some notes by the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren).


– Order! The honourable member will be out of order if he canvasses a debate which this House has conducted today.


– In that case I will sit down.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 10.59 p.m.

page 297


The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:

Telephone Revenues (Question No. 3708)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:

  1. What percentage of telephone revenue is derived from trunk calls.
  2. What percentage of telephone costs is attributable to trunk calls.
  3. By what percentage would the minimum charge for telephone calls have to be increased if all calls within Australia were subject to the same charge irrespective of distance.
Sir Alan Hulme:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. Charges for trunk calls by STD are recorded by an appropriate number of units on the subscribers meter which is also used to record the number of local calls made. Therefore, it is not possible to identify all trunk revenue but it is estimated to amount to between 35 and 40 per cent of the total revenue for the telephone service.
  2. Similarly, on the cost side much of the equipment is common to both local and trunk calls, consequently there is no clear division of costs. However, ft is estimated that the cost of the trunk network would be between 30 and 35 per cent of the cost of the telephone system.
  3. The level of uniform charge that would be necessary will not be known until a study being made by the Post Office is completed.

Telephone Services: Western Australia (Question No. 4939)

Mr Kirwan:

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:

  1. When win the Mount Barker exchange be converted to automatic operation.
  2. When will the (a) Albany (b) Mount Barker and (c) Esperance exchanges be included in the STD network.
  3. Has there been any delay in planned changeover dme in any of these exchanges; if so, what has been the cause.
Sir Alan HULME:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. Tentatively programmed for first half of 1974.
  2. Tentative programming envisages the provision of STD facilities at Albany in mid-1973, at Mr Barker during the first half of 1974 and at Esperance in mid- 1974.
  3. Albany and Mt Barker were previously programmed for connection to the STD network in late 1972 or early 1973 but, because of delays associated with the manufacture of the special equipment, the works programme has had to he re-appraised. The provision of STD facilities at Esperance has also been re-scheduled because of unavoidable delays in arranging delivery of essential equipment from manufacturers. 10157/72- R~ Jil]

Post Offices: Coober Pedy and Andamooka (Question No. 4894) Mr Wallis asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice:

Does his Department intend to establish official post offices at the opal mining townships of Coober Pedy and Andamooka in South Australia?

Sir Alan Hulme:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

There are no immediate plans to change these post offices to official working. Both offices are operating under non-official control at present and are giving a satisfactory service to our customers in the areas concerned.

Decentralisation Committee (Question No. 3604)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

On what joint Commonwealth-State committees, such as the Commonwealth-State Officials Committee on Decentralisation (Hansard, 6th May 1971, pages 2866 and 2908), do officers of his Department serve.

Mr McMahon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The only Commonwealth-State committee on which it has been publicly stated that officers of my Department are engaged is the CommonwealthState Officials Committee on Decentralisation.

Post Offices: Forrest Electorate (Question No. 4920)

Mr Kirwan:

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:

  1. What unofficial post offices in the Electoral Division of Forrest are to be closed during 1971- 72.
  2. What official post offices in the Electoral Division of Forrest are to be (a) closed and (b) classified as unofficial during 1971-72.
Sir Alan Hulme:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. The Collie-Cardiff Non-official Post Office closed on the 20th December 1971. It is intended to close the Wellington Mills Non-official Post Office also but a firm date has not yet been set. It is the usual practice to review the need to retain Post Offices in small country centres when the Postmaster resigns, automatic telephone working is introduced, or some other significant change takes place. Where suitable alternative mail delivery arrangements can be made and little use is being made of the counter services it is often unnecessary to keep the post office open. This situation could apply at a few of the other smaller settlements in the Electorate of Forrest during 1971-72.
  2. It is not intended at this stage to close or reclassify any official post offices as non-official in the Electoral Division of Forrest during 1971-72.

Notes on the News’ (Question No. 4287)

Mr Calwell:

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:

  1. Did he state in answer to my question No. 3151 that preference is not shown by the Australian Broadcasting Commission to people with anti-Labor records when engaging speakers for Notes on the News (Hansard, 28 th September 1971, pages 1592-4).

    1. Are pressmen, such as D. G. M. Jackson, J. D. Pringle, Emery Barcs and J. Bennets, more or less constantly engaged by the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
    2. If so, has it been made known to him or the Commission that views of these men towards the Australian Labor Party and its policies are well known and much resented.
    3. Will he have their speaking engagements reviewed.
Sir Alan Hulme:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. Yes.
  2. No. I refer the honourable member to my answer to Question No. 3151 (Hansard pages 1594-1596). Out of a total of 565 ‘Notes on the News’ sessions presented in 1969, 1970 and 1971, Dr Emery Bares was engaged 22 times, Mr I. Bennetts 8 times, Mr D. J. M. Jackson 28 times and Mr J. D. Pringle 5 times.
  3. See answer to No. 2.
  4. No. The engagement of speakers for ‘Notes on the News’ is a matter for the ABC to determine.

Telephones (Question No. 4725)

Mr Keogh:

asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice:

  1. How many employees of his Department are currently engaged in each of the exchange areas of Bulimba, Capalaba, Camp Hill, Cleveland, Coorparoo, Mount Gravatt, Eight Mile Plains, Redland Bay, Wellington Point and Wynnum on work to provide

    1. new telephone installations;
    2. additional underground cable; and
    3. additional exchange equipment.
  2. How many were similarly engaged in the 1969-70 and 1970-71 financial years.
  3. How many additional employees will be engaged in each of the Exchange Areas listed and for the work mentioned in part (1) during the remainder of this financial year, and when will they be added to those currently engaged.
Sir Alan Hulme:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. The areas mentioned by the honourable member are serviced by installation teams covering larger area or activity groupings, and employ ees are frequently redeployed between exchanges within these groups to meet fluctuations in telephone demand. The average number of staff engaged on installation activities in exchange groupings has therefore been supplied.

The telephone installation for these exchange areas is divided between the Metropolitan area of Brisbane, in which 19 employees serve the areas of Bulimba, Capalaba, Camp Hill, Coorparoo, Mount Gravatt and Eight Mile Plains, and the Outer Metropolitan Area where 6 staff serve Cleveland, Redland Bay, Wellington Point and Wynnum. The staff employed on the installation of underground cables are subdivided into local engineering groupings, the staff presently; employed being, Cooparoo, Camp Hill and Bulimba area, 18; Cleveland, Capalaba, Redland Bay and Wellington Point, 7; Mount Gravatt and Eight Mile Plains, 12; and Wynnum 5. In addition specialist teams of employees are presently engaged on major underground cable projects at Capalaba, Mount Gravatt and Wynnum (7 employees each) and Bulimba (12 employees)’.

New telephone exchange equipment installation in these exchange areas is carried out by a team of 14 specialists, who also serve the whole of the Brisbane metropolitan and outer metropolitan areas.

  1. The telephone installation staff servicing the Brisbane metropolitan exchanges listed in (1) above numbered 18 in 1969-70 and 19 in 1970-71, whilst in both previous years 6 employees installed telephones in the outer metropolitan exchange areas referred to in (1).

The staff employed on the installation of underground cables in both 1969-70 and 1970-71 was:

Coorparoo, Camp Hill and Bulimba area, 18;

Cleveland, Capalaba, Redland Bay and Wellington Point area, 7;

Mount Gravatt and Eight Mile Plains area, 12; Wynnum, 5.

The installation of telephone exchanges iu the Brisbane area was carried out by a staff of 30 in 1969-70 and 1970-71.

  1. Variations in the pattern of demand for new services render it difficult to predict future employment levels in specific exchange areas.It is known however, that 16 employees, presently engaged in other activities, will be redeployed to meet exchange installation programmes during the balance of this financial year. This action will result in the exchange installation team being restored to 30, the level maintained over the previous 2 years.

Consultants (Question No. 4045)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

What was the expenditure by each department and instrumentality in 1970-71 on fees to outside consultants (Senate Hansard, 25th August 1970, page 169).

Mr McMahon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The honourable member has available to him the basic information in detail which was provided in reply to a question in similar terms asked by Senator Mulvihill on 19th March 1970 and earlier on 9th September 1969 and answered In Senate Hansard 25th August 1970, pages 169- 184.

Whilst I would wish to give the honourable member the information which he asks for, the up-dated information is not readily ‘available because there appears to be little useful purpose in maintaining it in this form. Considerable additional work would need to be undertaken to obtain it and I am reluctant to authorise this.

However if the honourable member wishes to have information in regard to a specific organisation then I will endeavour to see if it can be provided.

Watching and Security Services (Question No. 3982)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

What was the expenditure by each department and instrumentality in 1970-71 on watching and security services.

Mr McMahon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The honourable member was earlier provided with basic information in detail in reply to his question in similar terms asked on 5th May 1970 and answered in Hansard 15th September 1970, pages1156-1157.

Whilst 1 would wish to give the honourable member the information which he asks for, the up-dated information is not readily available because there appears to be little useful purpose in maintaining it in this form. Considerable additional work would need to be undertaken to obtain it and I am reluctant to authorise this.

However if the honourable member wishes to have informationin regard to a specific organisation then I will endeavour to see if it can be provided.

Automatic Data Processing Committees (Question No. 4141)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

  1. Did Prime Minister Menzies approve in 1960 the establishment of (a) an interdepartmental committee comprising representatives of the Public Service Board (chairman), Departments of the Treasury and Defence and the PostmasterGeneral’s Department to co-ordinate automatic data processing activities of the Commonwealth Government Administration and (b) a policy committee comprising representatives of the Prime Minister’s Department (chairman), Treasury, Public Service Board and Universities Commission to coordinate plans for the development of electronic computer facilities for scientific and technical purposes as between Australian universities and Commonwealth departments, authorities and instrumentalities.
  2. Have any of the aforementioned departments or bodies been omitted from the committees or others added to them since the report of the Joint Committee on Public Accounts on automatic data processing in October 1966.
  3. Did Prime Minister Gorton on 12th June 1970 (Hansard, page 3674) list the committee on automatic data processing among the interdepartmental committees in operation at that time.
  4. Did the Public Service Board constantly refer to the committee on automatic data processing in its report submitted to Prime Minister Gorton on 1st September 1970.
  5. When did his Government make the policy decision not to give information on these matters (Hansard, 7th September 1971, pages 888, 889 and 895).
Mr McMahon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. to (5) Advice given collectively to the Government by an interdepartmental committee stands in the same position as advice given by an individual Department to its Minister. This is a basic working rule in our parliamentary system of Government - see the answers given by me to Question No. 3599 and Question No. 3600 (Hansard, 7th September 1972, pages 888 and 889), and to Question No. 4251.

Aboriginal Reserves: Development (Question No. 4943)

Mr Les Johnson:

asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

  1. Are any Aboriginal reserves or traditional tribal grounds at Bathurst Island currently the subject of inquiries or feasibility studies by Japanese business interests interested in mining activities or the development of a woodchip industry?
  2. If so, what is the nature of the inquiries or studies, and what is the considered view of the Aboriginal people towards them?
Mr Hunt:
Minister for the Interior · GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. No.
  2. Bathurst and Melville Islands, as a region, are considered to have the potential to support a woodchip industry and some inquiries have already been received from non-Japanese companies interested in investigating such an industry. Discussions have taken place with the Aboriginal communities on both Islands concerning these inquiries and they have expressed a willingness for feasibility studies to be carried out.

Ministerial Staffs (Question No. 4040)

Dr Gun:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

How many persons are on the personal staff of each Minister falling within each category of salary listed in answer to question No. 3411 (Hansard, 24th August 1971, page 655).

Mr McMahon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The following table shows the persons employed on the staff of each Minister as at 16th August 1971, the date of application of the answer to question No. 3411.

Nation-wide Survey of Education Needs (Question No. 3735)

Dr Gun:

asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:

  1. Did his predecessor state to a public meeting in Adelaide on 16th June 1971 that the Commonwealth was awaiting information from certain State governments before acting on the National Survey of Educational Needs?
  2. Was a letter written on behalf of the Prime Minister on 9th July 1971 to the Brighton Boys’ Technical High School Parents’ and Friends’ Association stating, that the Commonwealth Government believed that, with access to a new field of taxation, the improved grants arrangements agreed to at the June 1970 Premiers’ Conference, and the additional financial assistance provided as a result of the recent Premiers’ Conference, the States were well placed to meet their financial responsibilities for education and the other services they provide?
  3. If so, is it now the view of the Commonwealth Government that the transfer of power to levy pay-roll tax to the States has discharged its obligations on the survey?
  4. Does this represent a change in the attitude of the Government between 16th June and 9th July?
Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. The meeting referred to occurred on the evening of the day on which the June 1971 Premiers’ Conference opened. At that meeting my predecessor stated that two Premiers had not replied to letters from the Prime Minister about the Nation-wide Survey of Educational Needs.
  2. A letter in these terms was written on behalf of the Prime Minister to the Brighton Boys’ Technical High School Parents’ and Friends’ Association on 19th July 1971.
  3. In my statement to the House of 5th October 1971 on the Commonwealth Education Programme for 1971-72 I explained the Commonwealth’s reactions to the Nation-wide Survey of Educational Needs. I gave details of increased Commonwealth financial assistance to the States as a result of the 1970 and 1971 Premiers’ Conferences which have assisted the States to increase their expenditure on schools. On 9th December 1971, the Prime Minister, in a statement to the House, announced a further Commonwealth grant to the States, of $20 million, over the 18 months period to June 1973, for the provision of additional primaryand secondary school buildings for government schools.
  4. There was no change in the Government’s attitude between the dates mentioned. It will continue to co-operate with the States and with the independent schools in measures to improve education in all schools.

Crime Records (Question No. 4557)

Mr Enderby:

asked the Minister for the

Interior, upon notice:

  1. How many persons in:

    1. the Australian Capital Teritory; and
    2. the Northern Territory, were sentenced to terms of imprisonment during each of the last 5 years.
  2. What were the offences for which these persons were convicted.
  3. How many persons were convicted in respect of each type of offence.
Mr Hunt:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. and (3)-

Aboriginal Reserves: Prospecting (Question No, 4951)

Mr Cross:

asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

  1. What prospecting authorities under the Min ing Ordinance have been granted within Aboriginal reserves in the Northern Territory?
  2. When was each prospecting authority granted and to whom?
  3. (2) and (3)
  4. What area was involved in each case?
  5. Except the requirement for publication of the application in a newspaper, is any action taken to advise the Aboriginal occupants of reserves when an application is lodged?
  6. Is the approval of the Welfare Branch sought before prospecting authorities are issued on reserves?
Mr Hunt:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. and (5) Prior to an exploration licence being granted, the Welfare Division of the Northern Territory Administration consults with the Aborigines interested in the area to inform them of the likelihood of movement by prospectorsin the area and the type of work to be undertaken. The consultations are also held in order to allow, identification of any areas of traditional significance which should be avoided by prospectors and to establish whether any Aborigines are interested in, and could justify, some exploration rights for themselves.

The results of these consultations’ are taken into account by the Administrator in making his decision on the issue of any exploration licence over part of an Aboriginal Reserve.

Water Pollution (Question No. 4601)

Mr Grassby:

asked the Minister for the

Interior, upon notice:

  1. Are the waters of the Murrumbidgee River as far downstream as its entry to Burrinjuck Dam pure enough for domestic use?
  2. Is the Burrinjuck Dam being used as a tertiary sewage treatment facility by Canberra authorities?
  3. Does the sewage discharge at Weston Creek Works amounting to15 cusecs constitute a large proportion of the Murrumbidgee River flow?
  4. Does the water improve in quality after ponding and storage and is the Burrinjuck Dam therefore being used as a sewage treatment facility?
  5. If so, will be take steps to avoid the use of the Dam for this purpose in view of its primary function to store water for domestic use and irrigation?
Mr Hunt:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. Untreated water derived from the Murrumbidgee River at any stage during its transit through the A.CT. is not recommended for domestic use (i.e. drinking). Questions on standards outside the Commonwealth Territory should be addressed to the New South Wales authorities.
  2. No.
  3. No. Under normal conditions the Murrumbidgee River flow is 9.5 times that of the Molonglo River.
  4. The storage of water generally improves its quality. The Dam is not being used for the treatment of A.C.T. sewage.
  5. Not applicable.

Commonwealth Cars (Question No. 4632)

Mr Armitage:

asked the Minister for

Supply, upon notice:

  1. Is it a fact that instructions have been issued that Commonwealth cars and hire cars should be used by his Department on a 60:40 ratio?
  2. What is the mileage ratio of Commonwealth cars to hire can used by his Department?
  3. What is the ratio of dead or non-paying mileage as opposed to paying mileage in respect of Commonwealth cars.
Mr Garland:
Minister for Supply · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– The answer to the honourable member’s question, relating to cars operated by the Department of Supply but not including cars on weekly hire to other Departments, is as follows:

  1. No instructions have been issued specifying a ratio of use between Commonwealth cars and hire cars (or taxis). Commonwealth cars are used within normal operating hours to the extent they are available. The primary consideration is to ensure that maximum efficient utilisation is made of Commonwealth cars. Contractors’ cars are normally used for work:

    1. required at times outside normal operating hours of Commonwealth cars;
    2. beyond the capacity of Commonwealth cars.
  2. The paid mileage ratio of Commonwealth cars to contractor cars is in the order of 60:40.
  3. The ratio of non-paying to paying mileage for Commonwealth cars is 14:86.

Australian Capital Territory: Builders Licences (Question No. 4930)

Mr Enderby:

asked the Minister for the

Interior, upon notice:

  1. How many (a) builders’ licences and (b) builders’ special licences are current in the Australian Capital Territory.
  2. How many persons on the staff of his Department are engaged in deciding whether or not to issue (a) builders’ licences and (b) builders’ special licences.
  3. Is this number adequate.
  4. What is the average time lapse between an application for (a) builder’s licence and (b) a builder’s special licence, and the time when a licence is granted.
  5. How many (a) builders’ licences and (b) builders’ special licences have been cancelled or withdrawn in each of the last 5 years.
  6. Why were these licences cancelled or withdrawn.
  7. What factors does the Department take into account in deciding whether or not to accept the qualifications of a person applying for (a) a builder’s licence and (b) a builder’s special licence.
  8. What evidence does an applicant for (a) a builder’s licence and (b) a builder’s special licence have to present before his qualifications are accepted for a licence.
Mr Hunt:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. (a) At present 196 builders in the A.C.T. hold full annual licences,

    1. Special licences issued to 31st December 1971 totalled 2,743. These are generally issued for specific building projects and expire upon completion of the work; a person may therefore hold a number of special licences.
  2. Four officers of tbe Department handle applications.
  3. Yes, the number of officers is quite adequate.
  4. All applicants are interviewed as soon as possible upon receipt of their applications and are generally advised immediately if they are successful or not, or whether further information is required. Successful applicants may start work as soon as the fee is paid.
  5. Over the last 5 years:

    1. Builders’ licences cancelled 10; withdrawn nil.
    2. Builders’ special licences cancelled 7; withdrawn nil.
  6. Reasons for cancellation were:

    1. Builders’ licences - .

Unsatisfactory building work - 3

Bankruptcy - 1

At builder’s own request -I

Change of name or status or deceased -

  1. Builders’ special licences -

Bankrupt or in liquidation - 2

Unsatisfactory management - 2

At builder’s own request - 1

Change of name or deceased - 2

Regulation 7 of the Canberra Building Regulations lists the information which is required in support of an application, which covers character references, proof of ability and an indication of satisfactory financial standing.

In considering an application the Proper Authority enquires as to the applicant’s training and experience in building.

Documentary evidence of qualification or experience is required together with references as to ability by 2 Architects.

The Proper Authority assesses these factors in each case in deciding whether to issue a Builder’s Licence or a Builder’s Special Licence.

  1. The answer to part (7) of the question also answers part (8).

Canberra: Industrial Sites (Question No. 4929) Mr Enderby asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

Is it a fact that there is a constant demand for industrial sites in Canberra, roughly in the half acre to 1 acre range, with most of them being taken up by speculators and developers and then leased to small enterprises?

Can he say whether most areas in Canberra set aside for industrial purposes are taken up quickly and that, in practically all cases, the leases go through a middle man to the actual user although there are occasional situations where the land falls directly into the hands of the particular firm that wants it but with these latter cases more the exception than the rule?

Is it a fact that there is information available to give a fair idea of the proportion of industrial sites that are taken up directly by people who want a site for themselves as opposed to people who are developers and speculators?

If the position is as stated, was this situation intended or foreseen by the Government?

What steps are being taken by the Government to ensure that the land is not taken up by speculators but is made available to people who intend to put it to good and proper use?

Mr Hunt:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (1-4) The Department from time to time offers sites for lease in Canberra for industrial purposes. Since 1967, 76 sites in Fyshwick have been offered and none were passed in.

The sites are offered at public auction and the rights to the grant of leases are knocked down to the highest bidder. The lessee is required to comply with the covenants of lease which govern the purpose for which the land may be used and tbe standard of building to be erected. The Department does not keep information about the number of lessees who occupy the land they hold.

  1. The question suggested that when leases are purchased by ‘speculators’, the land is not put to good and proper use. This does not necessarily follow.

Burdekin Scheme (Question No. 4397)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

  1. Did he state on 30th September 1971 (Hansard, page 1728), in answer to a question without notice, that in the middle of August this year he came to an arrangement with the Premier of Queensland to establish a working group in order to carry out a wide-ranging and detailed investigation of the future of the Burdekin scheme.
  2. When he declined on 7lh September 1971 (Hansard, page 888) to give this information in answer to question No. 3594 which I placed on notice for him on 17th August 1971, did he do so because his communication with the Premier was still confidential or because it would have been an administrative burden to give such a detail of the communication.
  3. If he declined to give the information on 7th September 1971 because the communication was still confidential, when did he seek and obtain the Premier’s agreement to disclose it.
  4. If he declined to give the information on 7th September 1971 because it would have been an administrative burden to do so, when did he decide to abandon his predecessor’s practice of giving details of similar discussions and communications between the Commonwealth and Queensland concerning the Burdekin River project in answer to questions on notice (Hansard, 12th August 1969, page 128, 19th September 1969, page 1713 and 14th October 1970, page 2179).
  5. Would it now be too confidential or burdensome for him to state how long it will take the working group to carry out its investigation of the future of a scheme promised by Mr Chifley and Mr Fadden (Hansard, 10th September 1968, page 880) in 1949.
Mr McMahon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (l)-(S) When the honourable member earlier asked me for the date, nature and outcome of any communications between the Commonwealth and Queensland concerning the Burdekin River project since October 1970, I told him that I did not intend to adopt the practice and considerable administrative burden of continuing to list, as a matter of course, the details of the many matters on which there is communication between the Commonwealth and the States. This is quite apart from the fact, as I stated, that many communications are confidential unless otherwise agreed. I must point out to the honourable member that my predecessor also reached this conclusion and I refer him to the answer to Question No. 1870 (Hansard, 22nd February 1971,. page 473) and the answer to Question No. 2588 (Hansard, 9lh March 1971, page 757).

I could not at ‘this stage give any indication of the time which will be required for the full reappraisal of the Burdekin River Scheme.

Telephone Installations (Question No. 4683)

YARRA, VICTORIA · ALP; ALP (A-C) from April 1955

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:

  1. In regard to applications for telephone installations in each exchange area within the 5 telephone zones of Bennleigh, Cleveland, Russell Island, Dunwich and Tangalooma, how many (a) applications were received during the last year, (b) installations have been completed and (c) applications are held for which installations will be delayed for (i) up to 3 months, (ii) between 3 and 6 months, (iii) between 6 and 9 months, (iv) between 9 and 12 months, (V) between 12 and 15 months, (vi) between 15 and 18 months, (vii) between 18 and 24 months and (viii) more than 2 years.
  2. What action has been taken or will be taken to provide installations within a maximum time of 3 months from receipt of the application.
Sir Alan Hulme:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. (a) Applications received 1.11.70 to 31.10.71 (details of applications are recorded only in respect of telephone zones and not under individual exchanges in each zone).
  1. Apart from those applications on which work was proceeding to provide service, there were 174 deferred applications on hand at 16.11.71 to be provided as follows:
  1. Every effort is made to provide service applicants with the least delay possible and in 5 telephone zones mentioned above more than 70 per cent of applications have been satisfied within 3 months and 85 per cent within 5 months. Those not satisfied within these time scales have been delayed pending the provision of external plant and/or exchange equipment.

In some cases considerable works will be needed to satisfy the outstanding applications and these will be put in hand as resources can be made available.

Country Hour* Programme (Question No. 4816)

Dr Patterson:

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:

  1. How many (a) Federal Country Party Ministers and Members, (b) Federal Liberal Party Ministers and Members and (c) Federal Australian Labor Party Members have been interviewed, or quoted extensively, on the ABC ‘Country Hour’ programme in the last (i) three, (ii) six and (iii) twelve months.
  2. What were the names of the Ministers and Members concerned.
Sir Alan Hulme:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. The number of Federal Ministers and Members was:

    1. in the last three months:
    2. Country Party 4;
    3. Liberal Party 3;
    4. Australian Labor Party 3;
    1. in the last six months:

    2. Country Party 4;
    3. Liberal Party 4;
    4. Australian Labor Party 4;
    1. in the last twelve months:

    2. Country Party 4;
    3. Liberal Party 5;
    4. Australian Labor Party 5.
  2. The names were Rt Hon. D. J. Anthony, L. H. Barnard, G. W. A. Duthie, The Hon. J. M. Fraser. A. J. Grassby, Hon. P. R. Lynch, Rt Hon. W. McMahon, Hon. P. Nixon, Dr R. A. Patterson, Hon. I. M. Sinclair, Hon. B. M. Snedden, A. A. Street, Sen. J. J. Webster, E. G. Whitlam.

Telephone Installations (Question No. 4684)

Mr Keogh:

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:

  1. In regard to applications for telephone installations in each exchange area within the Brisbane telephone zone, how many (a) applications were received during the last year, (b) installations have been completed and (c) applications are held for which installations will be delayed for (i) up to 3 months, (ii) between 3 and 6 months, (iii) between 6 and 9 months, (iv) between 9 and 12 months, (v) between 12 and 15 months, (vi) between 15 and 18 months, (vii) between 18 and 24 months and (viii) more than 2 years.
  2. What action has been taken or will be taken to provide installations within a maximum time of 3 months from receipt of the application.
Sir Alan Hulme:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. (a) Applications received 1.11.70 to 31.10.71 for Brisbane zone - 28,537 (details of applications are recorded only in respect of the Brisbane telephone zone and not under indiviual exchanges in the zone).
  2. (b) Installations completed Brisbane zone 1.11.70 to 31.10.71 are as follows:
  3. (c) Apart from those applications on which work was proceeding to provide service, there were 601 deferred applications on hand at 16.11.71 in the Brisbane telephone zone, to be provided as follows:
  4. Every effort is made to provide service to applicants with the least delay possible and in the Brisbane telephone zone more than 95 per cent of all applicants are provided with service within 3 months.

Those not satisfied within this time have been delayed pending the provision of external plant and/or exchange equipment. In some cases considerable works will be needed to satisfy the outstanding applications and these will be put in hand as resources can be made available. For example, relief programmes at Apsley, Eight Mile Plains and Mitchelton to cater for waiting and future applicants will involve expenditure of $140,000, $120,000 and $144,000 respectively.

Country Hour’ Programme (Question No. 4815)

Dr Patterson:

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:

  1. Can he say whether the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s ‘Country Hour’ programme is now widely regarded as a forum in which Country Party propaganda, policies and excuses are aired with increasing frequency.
  2. What policy does the ABC follow to ensure an acceptable balance between major political parties in regard to the ‘Country Hour’.
Sir Alan Hulme:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. I have no evidence to this effect particularly since the programme is not designed to be such a forum.
  2. The same policy as it follows in all its programmes with topical content, i.e. to present a balance of views on issues of concern to the community.

This Day Tonight’ (Question No. 4856)

Mr Lloyd:

asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice:

  1. Can he say whether the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s programme ‘This Day Tonight’ is now widely regarded as a forum in which Australian Labor Party propaganda, policies and excuses are aired with increasing frequency.
  2. What policy does the A.B.C. follow to ensure an acceptable balance between major political parties in regard to ‘This Day Tonight’.
Sir Alan Hulme:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. I have no evidence to this effect particularly since the programme is not designed to be such a forum.
  2. The same policy as it follows in all its programmes with topical content, i.e. to present a balance of views on issues of concern to the community.

National Radio Programmes (Question No. 4898)

Dr Everingham:

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:

When will the alternative national radio programme or segments thereof be broadcast from provincial cities in Queensland.

Sir Alan Hulme:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

It is not possible to provide transmitters for both ABC Radio Networks in country areas as the additional frequencies required are not available. The present ABC regional service in Queensland and other States, comprises programmes drawn from both the networks currently available in the cities.

Aboriginals: Land Ownership (Question No. 4860)

Mr Grassby:

asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

  1. What area of land is owned by Aborigines, in Territories under the control of the Commonwealth, either as individuals or associated groups.
  2. What are the categories of ownership and what percentage do they represent of the total land available in (a) the Northern Territory and (b) the Australian Capital Territory of land for (i) housing, (ii) farming and grazing, (iii) industrial purposes and (iv) service enterprises.
Mr Hunt:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. No records are maintained of the ethnic origins of landowners in the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory except for Aboriginal Reserves in the Northern Territory.

In the Northern Territory since legislation providing for the grant of leases of land within reserves to Aborigines or Aboriginal groups came into operation in December 1970, 65 leases have been approved. The total area of these leases is approximately 1,500,900 acres. Another 70 applications including 23 for’ pastoral leases over extensive areas are being considered.

  1. There are no Aboriginal Reserves in the Australian Capital Territory and information can only be supplied in respect of land within Aboriginal Reserves in the Northern Territory. The total area of these reserves is approximately 94,000 square miles and the number and area of leases approved to date is:

    1. Includes retail, recreational, ceremonial, tourist and business (e.g. bakery, butchery, outdoor picture theatre, service station, etc.)

Taxation: Commercial Radio Stations (Question No. 3131)

Mr McLeay:
Assistant Minister assisting the Minister for Civil Aviation · BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

  1. Are all owners and operators of commercial radio stations in Australia subject equally to company tax and other Federal charges.
  2. If not, which stations are exempt and why.
  3. Are these stations formed as proprietary companies.
  4. Who controls these organisations.
Mr Snedden:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. As the law stands a commercial radio station would not be exempt from tax unless ft qualified for exemption under specific provisions relating to organisations such as religious, scientific, charitable and public educational institutions, trade unions and associations of employers or employees registered under any Act relating to the settlement of industrial disputes, public hospitals and hospitals carried on by an association otherwise than for the purposes of profit or gain to individual members.
  2. , (3) and (4) Subject to some specific exemptions which are not relevant here, the secrecy provisions of the income tax law preclude the Commissioner of Taxation from disclosing information relating (o the affairs of any person or company. So far as I am aware, however, there are no stations which would qualify for exemption under the provisions referred to in the reply to (1).

Army: Permanent Married Quarters (Question No. 4912)

Mr Kennedy:

asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice:

What is the (a) number and (b) percentage of permanent married quarters at (i) Puckapunyal, (ii) Seymour, (iii) Bendigo and (iv) Monegeetta that have telephones connected.

Mr Katter:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The connection of private telephones is essentially a personal matter between the occupant of a married quarter and the PMG’s Department. Consequently the Army does not maintain records of private telephones installed in Army controlled married quarters. 1 have however, been able to ascertain that in December 1971 there were approximately 75 telephones connected to married quarters at the Puckapunyal Army establishment. This represents about 13 per cent of the married quarters at Puckapunyal.

A check of the Seymour telephone directory against the addresses of married quarters in that area has indicated that 3 had telephones connected. This represents 1 per cent; I could not of course vouch for the accuracy of this figure.

In the case of Monegeetta, only 1 married quarter has a telephone connected, representing 5 per cent.

No information is available as to the number of telephones connected to married quarters in the Bendigo area.

Industrial Agreements (Question No. 3547)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

  1. What are the titles of all (a) registered and (b) unregistered Federal agreements now current in the Commonwealth.
  2. On how many occasions during the past 10 years has a union breached an industrial agreement.
Mr Lynch:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. I am advised that the titles of current industrial agreements held in the office of the Industrial Registrar at 14th February 1972 were those set out in the Schedule below.
  2. I am advised that records held in the Principal Registry show only those breaches of agreements which have resulted in proceedings before the Commonwealth Industrial Court. During the past 10 years unions have appeared as respondents in such proceedings on 14 occasions.

page 312


Air Express Holdings Pty Ltd Air Pilots Agreement, 1970

Air Hostesses (Jetair) Agreement, 1970

Airline Flight Engineers (Domestic Operators) Agreement, 1970

Airline Pilots (Domestic Operators) Agreement, 1969

AMP Society Staff Association Agreement, 1969

AMP Society Staff Association (Collector Agents) Agreement, 1969

Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Draughtsmen - A. E. Goodwin Limited Agreement, 1971

Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Draughtsmen - ICI Agreement, 1959

Artificial Fertilizers and Chemical Workers (ICIANZ) Agreement, 1965

Artificial Fertilizers and Chemical Workers (Cato- leum Pty Ltd) Agreement, 1968

Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union and another and the Angliss Group and Others re disputes procedure

Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union and Cairns Meat Export Co. Pty Ltd Agreement (re settlement of disputes)

Australian Workers Union and Australian Pipe Lines (Construction) Pty Ltd Agreement, 1966

Australian Workers Union Austin-Anderson (Australia) Pty Ltd and Others Agreement, 1965

Australian Workers Union - BP Australia Ltd Westernport Refinery Agreement

Australian Workers Union. Hardboard Industry (Queensland) Agreement, 1971

Australian Workers Union - Oil Refinery Employees (Amoco Australia) Agreement, 1970

Australian Workers Union and T. H. Miller Corner Service Station, Welshpool 1967

Bank of New South Wales Accrued Leave Agreement, 1962

Bank Officials (Bank of New South Wales) Agreement, 1965

Brain and Brown Airfreighters Pilots Agreement, 1970

BWWD- FCU Container Agreement, 1970

Colonial Gas Association (GISOF) Agreement, 1968

Commonwealth Engineering Co. Australasian Society of Engineers and Others

Commuter Pilots Agreement, 1970

Container Industry Agreement

Engine Drivers and Firemen’s (Electricity Trust of South Australia)- Agreement, 1964

Engine Drivers and Firemen’s (Department of Public Works of Tasmania) Agreement

Engine Drivers and Firemen (Melbourne City Council) Agreement, 1952

Engine Drivers and Firemen (Municipal Tramways Trust, Adelaide) Agreement, 1951

Engine Drivers and Firemen’s (Shell Refining (Australia) Pty Ltd) Agreement, 1956

Electrical Trades Union of Australia - and -The Corporation of the City of Port Pirie Agreement

Federated Cold Storage and Meat Preserving Employees Union of Australasia and Uncle Ben’s of Australia Pty Ltd Agreement (re Union Picnic Day)

Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union of Australia and Agfa Gevaert Ltd and Another Agreement

Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union of Australia - G. J. Coles and Coy Limited State of Tasmania Industrial Agreement

Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union of Australia and Kodak (Australasia) Pty Ltd and Others Agreement, 1969

Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union of Australia Myer (Tasmania) Limited Industrial Agreement

Gas Industry Salaried Officers (Gas and Fuel

Corporation of Victor/a) Agreement, 1952 Gas Industry Salaried Officers (Brisbane Gas Co. Ltd and Others) Agreement, 1970

Ironworkers- (ICI etc.) Agreement, 1970

Jetair Australia Ltd Air Pilots Agreement, 1970

Journalists (The Australian) Agreement, 1964

Journalists (Australian Associated Press) Agreement, 1963

Journalists (The Canberra Courier) Agreement, 1964

Journalists (Canberra Times) Agreement, 1967

Journalists (Peter Isaacson Newspaper) Agreement, 1968

Licensed Aircraft Engineers (Domestic Airlines) Agreement, 1970

Licensed Aircraft Engineers (East-West Airlines) Agreement, 1970

Local Government Officers (Town of Canning) Agreement 1970

MacKellar County Council (Salaried Officers) Industrial Agreement

MacKellar County Council (Senior Officers) Industrial Agreement

Marine Engineers (Australian Offshore Services and Others) Agreement, 1970

Marine Stewards (Bums Philp and Co. Ltd) Chief Stewards Agreement

Marine Stewards and Pantrymen (CSOA) Agreement, 1963

Marine Stewards and Pantrymen (Eastern and Australian Steamship Company) Agreement, 1963

Marine Stewards (State Shipping Service of Western Australia - Chief Stewards) Agreement 1963

Marine Stewards (Sydney Steam Collier Owners and Coal Stevedores Association) Agreement, 1951

Meat Industry (Shepparton Meatworks Pty Ltd) Agreement 1967

Meat Processing Seniority Agreement, 1969

Melbourne Metropolitan Foundry Agreement, 1970

Merchant Service (J. and A. Brown and Abermain Seaham Collieries Ltd) Agreement, 1943

Metal Trades A. E. Goodwin Ltd Agreement, 1960

Miscellaneous Workers (Container Terminals) Agreement, 1969

Mobile Crane, etc. Drivers (Australian Glass Manufacturers Company) Agreement, 1946

Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company Limited Industrial Agreement, 1970

Muncicipal Employees (Metropolitan Transport Trust Tasmania)’ Incremental Payment Agreement

Municipal Officers Association of Australia (Country Roads Board, Victoria) Agreement, 1968

Nationwide Air Pilots Agreement, 1970

Newspaper Printing Agreement, 1969

Printing Industry (Tha Australian) Agreement, 1968

Printing Industry (Centralian Advocate) Agreement, 1969

Printing Industry (Kenmare Press Pty Ltd) Agreement, 1961

Printing Industry (Land Newspaper Ltd) Agreement, 1969

Printing Industry (Maxwell Newton Pty Ltd) Agreement, 1971

Printing Industry Northern Territory News Agreement, 1969

Printing Industry (Stock and Ritchie Pty Ltd) Agreement, 1961.

Professional Engineers (Country Roads Board Victoria) Agreement, 1963

Professional Engineers (Department of Main Roads, New South Wales) Agreement, 1970

Professional Engineers (Electricity Commission of New South Wales) Agreement, 1968

Professional Engineers (Gas and Fuel Corporation of Victoria) Agreement, 1963

Professional Engineers (Hunter District Water Board) Agreement, 1968

Professional Engineers (Hydro-Electric Commission of Tasmania) Agreement, 1965

Professional Engineers (Maritime Services Board of New South Wales) Agreement, 1971

Professional Engineers (Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works) Agreement, 1965

Professional Engineers (Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works, Senior Engineers Agreement, 1967

Professional Engineers (Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board) Agreement, 1968

Professional Engineers (Main Roads Department of W.A.) Agreement, 1967

Professional Engineers (Northern Rivers County Council) Agreement, 1970

Professional Engineers (Melbourne Harbor Trust) Agreement 1963

Professional Engineers (Shortland County Council) Agreement, 1969

Professional Engineers (State Electricity Commission of Western Australia) Agreement, 1969

Professional Engineers (Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission of New South Wales) Agreement, 1971

Pulp and Paper Industry Agreement, 1968

Pulp and Paper Industry (Maintenance and Services) Agreement, 1970

Pulp and Paper Manufacturing (Western Australia) Agreement

Qantas Airways Ltd (Printing) Agreement, 1971

Queensland Alumina and the Amalgamated Engineering Union and Others Agreement 1971

Rubber Workers- ICIANZ Agreement, 1959

Seamen’s Union of Australia and Australian Offshore Services and Others Agreement 1970

Seamen’s Union of Australia and Smit-Lloyd (Australia) Pty Ltd Agreement, 1969

Seamen’s Union of Australia and Southeastern Drilling Inc. Agreement 1971

Shipping Officers (Australian Coastal Shipping Commission) Agreement, 1957

Sprinkler Pipe Fitters Agreement, 1969

Storemen and Packers (ICIANZ) Agreement, 1970

Storemen and Packers Kodak (Australia) Pty Ltd Agreement, 1969

Storemen and Packers (Oil Compaanies) Agreement, 1969

Storemen and Packers (Onion Marketing W.A.) Agreement, 1965

Storemen and Packers (Skin and Hide Stores) Agreement (Victoria and Tasmania), 1970

Telephone Germ-Proofing Services Industrial Agreement, 1969

Transport Workers (Ancillary Vehicles) Agreement, 1966

Transport Workers (Ancillary Vehicles) Agreement, 1967

Transport Workers (Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works) Agreement, 1950

Transport Workers Queensland Refineries Pty Ltd Agreement, 1964

Transport Workers (Oil Stores Shell Co. of Australia Ltd) Agreement, 1951

Transport Workers (Roche Bros Pty Ltd and Euclid Trucking Co. Pty Ltd) Agreement, 1959

Transport Workers (Shift Work) Agreement, 1962

Transport Workers (Special Vehicles) Agreement, 1956

Transport Workers (Thomas Nation-Wide Transport Ltd- Shift Work) Agreement, 1963

Victorian Meatworks Association - Australian Meat Industry Employees Union - Meatworks Industrial Agreement

Waterside Workers Federation and Tancred Bros Agreement, 1964

Westminster Dredging Australia Ltd and Harbour Rivers and Coastal Branch of the Merchant Service Guild of Australia

Australian Newsprint Mills Agreement, 1970

Stats Electricity Commission of Victoria and The Association of Professional Engineers Australia Agreement, 1969

Slaughtering Freezing and Processing Works (Meat Industry) Cooling Off Agreement, 1966

Electricity Trust of South Australia and The Amalgamated Engineering Union and Others Agreement 1962

Ford Motor Co. of Australia Pty Ltd and The Vehicle Builders Employees Federation of Australia Agreement 1961

Queensland Oil Refineries Pty Ltd and The Australian Workers Union Agreement 1959

Commonwealth Hostels Ltd and the North Australian Workers Union Agreement 1959

William Angliss and The Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union Agreement 1966

The Printing Industry Employees Union of Australia and Canberra Publishing Co. Pty Ltd Agreement 1962.

The Australian Newsprint Mills Agreement 1970

Queensland Oil Refineries Pty Ltd and The Australian Workers Union Agreement 1959

The Commonwealth Hostels Agreement (Northern Territory) 1959

Merchant Service Guild of Australia W.A. Section (Clieveden) Agreement 1970

Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers (Clieveden) Agreement 1970

Seamens (Clieveden) Agreement 1970

The Australian Boot Trade Employees Federation, The Australian Leather and Allied Trades Employees Federation and Kay Ceo Manufacturing Co. Pty Ltd Agreement 1966

The Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union (N.S.W. Branch) and Australian Meat Packing Corporation Limited Agreement 1964

Biological Survey (Question No. 2935)

Mr Uren:

asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:

  1. Did the Government in 1965 receive a proposal from the Australian Academy of Science for a biological survey of Australia.
  2. Was an updated version of the proposal re-submitted in November 1968.
  3. If so, what progress has been made in the consideration of this proposal.
  4. If no progress has been made, is the Government delaying action pending the receipt of the report of the Select Committee on Wildlife Conservation.
  5. As public evidence presented to the Committee indicates that a thorough and continuing survey of Australian ecosystems is highly desirable, will the Government arrange for the survey to be commenced without delay.
Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. In 1962 the Government received a proposal from the Australian Academy of Science recommending the establishment of a ‘Museum of Australian Biology’. <2) The Australian Academy of Science submitted a revised proposal in 1968 recommending the establishment of a ‘Biological Survey of Australia’.
  2. The questions involved in the possible establishment of a Biological Survey are complex and are still under consideration.
  3. The report to be submitted by the Select Committee on Wildlife Conservation will, no doubt, raise matters relevant to the proposal for a Biological Survey which will need to be taken into consideration.
  4. The initiation of a Survey of Australia’s ecosystems is not entirely dependent upon the adoption of the proposal for a Biological Survey. CSIRO, and other bodies, are already undertaking work in ecology and this will undoubtedly be extended as opportunities arise.

Secondary Industry: Raw Materials (Question No. 4346)

Dr Everingham:

asked the Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice:

  1. What action has the Government taken to reduce wasteful design, accelerated obsolescence or impaired recycling of raw materials in secondary industries.
  2. Will he initiate joint Commonwealth-State investigation of these wasteful practices and of related restrictive processing or trading agreements, with special reference to (a) the relation of the price of spare parts to the price of the complete article, (b) the rustproofing of motor vehicles, (c) excessive use of inferior used rubber in motor tyres, and (d) the relative cost of spare parts for private vehicles as compared with costs for commercial vehicles.
Mr Anthony:
Deputy Prime Minister · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (!) Action to reduce wasteful design, accelerated obsolescence or impaired recycling of raw materials in secondary industry is primarily the responsibility of individual manufacturing enterprises.

It is pleasing to note that Australian industry is actively involved in solving the problems created by these particular issues.

The Government’s policy is to encourage industry to be aware of these problems and provide general assistance as a back up to the company operation.

The Commonwealth is closely associated with, and provides financial assistance to such bodies as the CSIRO, the Standards Association of Australia, the Industrial Design Council of Australia which are directly concerned with encouraging and assisting increased technological efficiency in Australian industry.

Stale Governments have recently taken measures to cope with problems associated with the disposal of waste products.

  1. The Government does not have plans for a joint Commonwealth-State investigation into the aspects raised in the second part of the honourable member’s question. 1 am advised that the question of rust and corrosion of motor vehicles has been considered by the Australian Transport Advisory Council, which recommended that no legislative action was required.

The Australian Transport Advisory Council comprising Commonwealth and State Ministers has considered the question of tyres for passenger cars and has directed its Advisory Committee on Safety in Vehicle Design to prepare, as a matter of urgency, an Australian Design Rule for tyres. In this regard I refer the honourable member also to the answer given by the Minister for Shipping and Transport in Hansard of 13th September 1971 in reply to Parliamentary Question No. 3508.

Union Rules: Membership Fees (Question No. 3538)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

  1. Can a union whose rules provide for contributions to be paid only yearly in advance prevent a member from resigning at the end of his membership year unless he pays another 12 months contributions in advance.
  2. If so, how can such a rule operate within the provisions of section 145 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act which gives to union members a statutory right to resign at 3 months’ notice.
  3. What are the unions whose registered rules make it mandatory for members to pay their contributions yearly in advance.
Mr Lynch:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. I am advised that the answer to this part of the honourable member’s question would depend on (a) the specific provisions of the rules with regard to payment of fees and (b) the date when resignation was to take effect and that there could be circumstances in which the answer would be No’. In order to give a more precise answer to this part of the honourable member’s question it would be necessary to obtain a legal opinion in relation to a specific case.
  2. I am advised that in the light of the answer to part (1) there is not necessarily any incompatibility between a rule providing for contributions to be paid only yearly in advance and the provisions of section 145 (b) of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
  3. I am advised that the information asked for is not readily available. To obtain it would require an unjustifiable expenditure of time and staff resources.

Trade Unionists: Assistance from Industrial Registrar (Question No. 3555)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

  1. In how many unsuccessful cases launched by union members under sections 140 and 141 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act did the applicants receive financial assistance from the Industrial Registrar under regulation 138.
  2. In how many of these cases was the financial assistance granted by the Registrar sufficient to meet the applicant’s own costs and the costs awarded against him.
  3. Who are the applicants who were required to meet some of their own and/or awarded costs, and what were the amounts involved.
Mr Lynch:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: 1 am advised as follows: (1.) Thirty-four.

  1. Two.
  2. To the extent that they were not granted 100 per cent financial assistance the following might have been required to meet some of their own and/or awarded costs, the amounts of which howevercannot be provided as in each case they would be a matter of a private arrangement.

Union Membership: Decline (Question No. 3562)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

  1. What are the names of those unions whose total financial membership has fallen since 1956 and what isthe extent of the decline in membership.
  2. Which are the unions that show the highest percentage increase in membership since 1956.
Mr Lynch:

– The answer to the honourable members question is as follows:

  1. and (2) I am advised that:

    1. there are no official statistics which give the information sought by the honourable member.
    2. the information is not available from the office of the Industrial Registrar or from the Bureau of Census and Statistics. Statistics of labour organisations prepared by the Bureau are collected under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act which prohibits the disclosure of the contents of individual returns.

Civil Aviation: Sydney’s Second Airport (Question No. 4901)

Mr Les Johnson:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:

  1. What sites have been considered as a future location for Sydney’s second airport.
  2. What were the reasons for the elimination from the list of possible sites, of those sites which were considered but are no longer under consideration.
Mr Swartz:

– The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

  1. A number of locations for a second airport for Sydney have been considered over recent years. An Interdepartmental Committee set up to advise the Government considered the following locations:

Wyong (Norah Head)

Wyong (Warner Vale)



Badgerys Creek


Marsden Park

Long Point

Lucas Heights

Wattamolla (National Park)

Duffy’s Forest.

  1. The Interdepartmental Committee recommended that for various reasons a suitable second airport could not be constructed at the following sites:

Wyong (Norah Head)

Wyong (Warner Vale)

Badgerys Creek


Marsden Park

Long Point

Lucas Heights.

Generally speaking, the reasons why these sites were considered unsuitable were amongst the following:

  1. Physical limitations of the site when considered against the requirements of a major airport.
  2. Airspace problems such as conflict with air traffic using existing aerodromes.
  3. Unsuitability of the location in relation to the centre of Sydney.

The Interdepartmental Committee reported that it was unable to either recommend or reject the remaining 4 locations, namely, Duffy’s Forest, Richmond, Somersby or Wattamolla. As further investigations involving the New South Wales Government would be required for this purpose, the Committee recommended the setting up of the Commonwealth/State Committee, which has been done.

The Commonwealth/State Committee has bees instructed to consider Richmond and Somersby as possible locations for the second airport, but not Duffy’s Forest or Wattamolla. This Government’s view is that for a variety of reasons Duffy’s Forest and Wattamolla are neither desirable nor satisfactory sites for a major airport.

Qantas Pilots Strike: Compensation Claim (Question No. 4908)

Mr Charles Jones:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:

  1. When pilots of the Australian Federation of Air Pilots employed by Qantas went on strike from 24th November 1966 to 22nd December 1966, was a claim for compensation made under the Seat Pool Agreement between Qantas, BOAC, Air India, Air New Zealand and MalaysiaSingapore Airlines.
  2. If so, how much compensation was received.
  3. If no claim was made or compensation received, can the Minister say why not
Mr Swartz:

– The Minister for Civil Aviation, has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question: (1), (2) and (3). It was not necessary for Qantas to make a claim for compensation. Most pooling arrangements provide automatically for maintenance of an element of revenue share for a carrier suffering a strike. In this context Qantas received approximately $3m in compensation from its pool partners in respect of the strike in November/December 1966. But this was not sufficient to offset the consequent loss of revenue, and Qantas incurred a loss of $1.5m for 1966-67.

Decentralisation) Air Services (Question No. 4113)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:

  1. What action has been taken on the recommendations which the Decentralisation Advisory Committee on the selection of places outside the metropolis of Melbourne for accelerated development made on 26th September 1967 that adequate air terminal facilities and air services be provided for Bendigo and the Latrobe Valley.
  2. Is the Department of Civil Aviation represented on the Commonwealth-State Officials’ Committee on Decentralisation.
Mr Swartz:

– The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

  1. At Bendigo there is an Authorised Landing Area operated by the Bendigo Airfield Committee which consists of representatives of the City of Bendigo and the Shire of Strathfieldsaye.

The Department assisted the Airfield Committee in the selection of the site and with technical advice for its development, making allowance for the site ultimately to be developed to full licensing standards. As far as the Department is aware, there is no proposal to develop the site to licensed standard in the immediate future.

Authorised Landing Areas do not receive Commonwealth financial assistance under the terms of the Aerodrome Local Ownership Plan. However, should the aerodrome be developed to licensed standard then the Commonwealth would provide some financial assistance depending upon the type of operations conducted.

There is a licensed aerodrome in the Latrobe Valley operated on a joint basis by the City of Traralgon and the Shires of Morwell and Traralgon. This aerodrome was developed by the Department of Civil Aviation and the Latrobe Valley Aero Club and was transferred to the Councils under the Aerodrome Local Ownership Plan in 1965. The Commonwealth now meets 50 per cent of the costs for approved development and maintenance works.

The Department of Civil Aviation does not have any applications from operators interested in providing air services to Bendigo or the Latrobe Valley and, moreover, there have never been regular air services to those centres. The availability of other means of transport and the relative proximity of both places to Melbourne probably lead operators to the conclusion that regular air services wouldbe a doubtful economic proposition in the present circumstances.

  1. The Department of Civil Aviation is not represented on the Commonwealth-State Officials’ Committee on Decentralisation. However, the Department is available to provide aviation information whenever so required.

Airline Employees: Travel Concessions (Question No. 4773)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:

  1. How many (a) Australian airline employees and (b) relatives are known to have availed themselves of travel concessions by international airlines in thelast year for which figures are available.
  2. What (a) number and (b) percentage of them travelled by Qantas.
  3. What concessions does Qantas extend.
  4. Why does Qantas not extend concessions as generous as, for instance, Pan Am.
Mr Swartz:

– The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

  1. and (2) Figures on such concessional travel granted by international airlines are not available, apart from figures which have been provided by Qantas. These show that Qantas provided international travel for 13,100 airline employees and dependents during the year ended 30th June 1971. Qantas statistics do not distinguish between employees and dependents.
  2. (a) To its own employees and their depen dents at varying rebates between SO per cent and 100 per cent, basically in accordance with length of service, (b) On a reciprocal basis to most other Australian airline employees and their dependants, and to employees and their dependents of various international airlines with which Qantas has reciprocal arrangements. The concessions offered vary from airline to airline and depend on such conditions as the extent of reciprocity offered to Qantas employees, and length of service with the airline concerned.
  3. The policy and practicability of granting free or reduced fares transportation on revenue earning flights is kept constantly under review in the light of commercial considerations, including current and projected available capacity.

Breaches of Awards (Question No. 3949)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

  1. What is the maximum penalty that the Commonwealth Industrial Court can impose upon an employer who fails to comply with the terms of an award and on how many occasions has this Court imposed the maximum penalty provided for under the Conciliation and Arbirtation Act for breach of award by an employer.
  2. What is the total number of breaches of Federal awards detected by State and Federal Inspectors since 1957.
  3. In how many of those cases did the Registrar or an arbitration inspector institute prosecutions before the Commonwealth Industrial Court.
  4. What penalties and/or costs did the Court impose in each such case.
Mr Lynch:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. The maximum penalty that the Commonwealth Industrial Court can impose for a breach or non-observance of an award is fixed by section 119 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. That section provides that if the breach of the award is a separate breach by virtue of a provision of the award to the effect that engaging in conduct in breach of a specifiedterm of the award shall be deemed to constitute the commission of a separate breach of that term on each day on which the conduct continues the maximum penalty is $500 and where the breach is not of that nature, $1,000.
  2. A total of 97,680 breaches of federal awards have been detected by Commonwealth Arbitration Inspectors and State Inspectors exercising the powers of Commonwealth Inspectors between 1st January 1957, and 30th June 1971.
  3. and (4) As to prosecutions instituted by Arbitration Inspectors since the commencement of 1957, I would invite the honourable member’s attention to the answer given to his question No. 1026 (Hansard, 25th February 1969, pages 73-80), for the period ending 1968. Since that time, Inspectors have launched three proceedings in the Commonwealth Industrial Court and 92 proceedings before other Courts. Thus for the inclusive period, Inspectors instituted 248 proceedings against employers for breaches of federal awards. The Registrar instituted no prosecutions for breaches of awards in this period. Details of prosecutions before the Commonwealth Industrial Court instituted by Commonwealth Arbitration Inspectors since 1968 are as follows:

(The second matter had been dismissed by a Migistrate but went to the Commonwealth Industrial Court on appeal by the Inspectorate.

The above position should be understood in the context of policy being to prosecute only as a last resort method of securing compliance with an award and to be considered only when all other reasonable steps to secure compliance with award requirements have been taken. In this regard I would invite the honourable members attention to the answer given to his question No. 2662 (Hansard, 20th April 1971, page 1735) and to the answer to his question No. 1220 (Hansard, 16th August 1970) in which the honourable member was advised that in the vast majority of cases Inspectors secure compliance without the need to resort to prosecution.

Loss of Working Days: Causes (Question No. 3950)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

How many man days were lost on account of (a) strikes, (b) unemployment and (c) industrial accident or disease in each of thelast 10 years.

Mr Lynch:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. Figures published by the Commonwealth Statistician showing, in respect of the last 10 full years, the numbers of working days lost in Australia through industrial disputes involving stoppages of work of 10 man-days or more are set out in the table below:

The latest figures available show that the number of working days lost in 1971 up to the end of November was 2,876,800. This figure exceeds the total for 1970 and the figure for any full year since 1929.

The bald figure of working days lost is not, of course, a true measure of the effect of strikes. Strikes cause hardship to workers not directly involved and the wage induced inflation associated with industrial unrest is posing a long term threat to economic growth, the balance of payments and ful employment

  1. I am advised that there are no official statistics of the number of man-days lost on account of unemployment.
  2. I am advised that statistics of man-days lost through Industrial accidents or disease for Australia for each of the last ten years are not available. The most recent estimate for the time lost from employment Injuries, which cause workers to be away from their joh for one day or more, is 680,000 man-weeks per year. This figure relates to employment injuries only and does not include man-days lost through compensable diseases.

Loss of Working Days: Causes (Question No. 4073)

Dr Klugman:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

What was the proportion of days lost through (a) industrial disputes, (b) unemployment (registered) and (c) industrial accidents and compensable illnesses, compared with total days worked in Australia, in the latest year for which figures are available.

Mr Lynch:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

I am advised that there are no official statistics of total days worked in Australia and that the position with regard to categories of days lost mentioned by the honourable member is as follows:

Figures published by the Commonwealth Statistician show that in 1970, the latest full year for which figures are available, the number of working days lost in Australia through industrial disputes involving stoppages of work of ten man-days or more was 2,393,700. The latest figures available show that the number of working days lost in 1971 up to the end of November was 2,876,800. This figure exceeds the total for 1970 and the figure for any, full year since 1929. The bald figure of working days lost is not, of course, a true measure of the effect of strikes. Strikes cause hardship to workers not directly involved and the wage induced inflation associated with industrial unrest is posing a long term threat to economic growth, the balance of payments and full employment

I am advised that there are no official statistics of the number of man-days lost on account of unemployment.

I am advised that the most recent estimate available of time lost annually through employment injuries which cause workers to be away from their jobs for one day or more, for Australia, is 680,000 man-weeks. This figure relates to employment injuries only and does not include days lost on account of compensable diseases.

Labour Organisation: Receipts and Payments (Question No. 4150)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

  1. Are organisations registered under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act required to file with the Registrar an account of receipts and payments of each of its branches.
  2. If so, are these records available for inspection at the office of the Registrar.
  3. What are the names of the organisations whose total membership is (a) less than 100, (b) 100 and less than 200, (c) 200 and less than 500 and (d) 500 and less than 1,000.
Mr Lynch:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. and (2) I am advised that the answer to each of these parts is Yes.
  2. I am advised that:

    1. there are no official statistics which give the information sought by, the honourable member.
    2. the information is not available from the office of the Industrial Registrar or from the Bureau of Census and Statistics. Statistics of labour organisations prepared by the Bureau are collected under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act which prohibits the disclosure of the contents of individual returns.
    3. information relating to membership of trade unions and employees’ associations as at the end of 1969 is available in ‘A Handbook of Australian Trade Unions and Employees’ Associations’ by D. W. Rawson and Suzanne Wrightson, Occasional Paper No. 5, Department of Political Science, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. This information, which is not complete, runs to some 77 pages of the publication.

Trade Unions: Applications to Register Rule Alterations (Question No. 3539)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

  1. Which unions made application to register rule alterations under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act in each of the last 10 years.
  2. In which of these applications did officers of the unions concerned seek the advice or assis tance of the Registrar in relation to the rule alterations (a) before and (b) after the formal application was lodged.
Mr Lynch:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. I assume that the honourable member’s question relates to applications to the Registrar under Section 139 (1) of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act for consent to a change of the name of an organisation or an alteration of its rules in so far as they relate to conditions of eligibility for membership or the description of the industry in connection with which the organisa-. tion is registered.

The schedule below contains a list of all such applications made between 25th January 1961 and 14th February 1972 inclusive.

  1. I am advised that there is no information available about this part of the honourable member’s question.
E = Application for consent to a change in the conditions of eligibility for membership of the organisation I= Application for consent to a change in the description of industry in connection with which the organisation is registered. 26.11.69 The Union of Postal Clerks and Telegraphists .. .. .. E {:#subdebate-26-13} #### Preference of Employment (Question No. 3540) {: #subdebate-26-13-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. In which awards made by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission is provision made for preference of employment to the applicant or respondent union. 1. In which of these awards is provision made for conscientious objectors to be granted exemption from the preference provision. {: #subdebate-26-13-s1 .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr Lynch:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. I am advised that, from the information available to my Department as at the 15th February 1972, the awards making provision for preference of employment are those contained in the following schedule. The schedule does not include: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. awards which, although not making specific provision within them for preference, never theless contain provision for a system of engagement which operates to give preference of employment to union members; 1. awards which contain reference to unspecified existing customs and conditions of employment which may, or may not, provide for preference of employment; 2. awards which contain reference to provisions of State awards and agreements which may, or may not, in the conditions of employment, give preference to unionists. Information about these categories is not considered to be relevant to the honourable member's question, and moreover, to obtain such information would entail the use of considerable staff time, which would not be justified. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. 1 am advised that the following awards, included in the schedule, make provision for conscientious objectors to be granted exemption from the preference provision: Clothing Trades Award 1964 Fire Brigade Employees (A.C.T.) Award 1965 Engineering (Oil Companies) Award 1970 Municipal Officers (New South Wales Electricity Undertakings) Award 1964. Municipal Officers (New South Wales Electricity Undertakings) Salaried Division Award 1969 Municipal Officers (New South Wales Electricity Undertakings) Senior Officers Award 1969. Schedule of Awards Making Provision for Preference Abattoirs and Slaughteryard Employees (A.C.T.) Determination No. 11 of 1948. Ambulance Staff (A.C.T.) Award 1972. Australian Coastal Shipping Commission (Terminal Supervisors) Award 1970. Australian Foremen Stevedores (Container Terminals) Award 1969. Austral-Pacific Fertilizers Ltd (Agricultural Chemical Industry) Award 1968. Automotive Service Station Attendants (A.C.T.) Award 1968. AWU - Breeding and Raising of Pigs Award 1969. AWU - Construction and Maintenance Award 1969. AWU - Construction and Maintenance (Corporations and District Councils of South Australia) Award 1967. AWU - Hardboards Industry Award 1971. AWU- Queensland Oil Refineries Pty Ltd Award 1963. Bakers (A.C.T.) Award 1964. Bottle Merchants Award 1970. Bread Sales Personnel (A.C.T.) Award 1967. Brickmakers (Commonwealth Employees- A.C.T.) Determination No. 2 of 1947. Builders Labourers (A.C.T.) Award 1963. Builders Labourers (Construction on Site) Award 1962. Builders Labourers (Construction on Site) Award 1969. Butchers Carters (A.C.T.) Determination No. 15 of 1949. Butchers Shops, etc. (Private Employees - A.C.T.) Determination No. 10 of 1948. Canberra Mothercraft Society (Nursing Staff) Award 1964. Chemists (A.C.T.) Award 1968. Clerks (A.C.T.) Award 1966. Clerks (Meat Industry) Award 1969. Clerks (Oil Companies) Award 1968. ' Clothing Trades Award 1964. Club Managers and Club Secretaries (A.CX) Award 1971. Concrete Pipe Makers (Northern Territory) Award 1967. Concrete Pipe Makers (Alice Springs N.T.) Award 1969. Confectioners Award 1959. Country Printing Award 1959. Denominational etc. Schools (A.C.T.) Award 1969. Dried Fruits Industry Award 1971. Dry Cleaning and Dyeing Industry Award 1966. Electrical Trades Union of Australia (Container Terminals Award 1970. Engine Drivers and Firemen (A.C.T.) Award 1957. Engine Drivers and Firemen (Breweries) Award 1948. Engineering (Oil Companies) Award 1970. Federal Meat Industry Interim Award 1965. Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union of Australia CSR Chemicals Ltd Mayfield Factory Award 1970. Fellmongery Employees (The Angliss Group) 1968. Fire Brigade Employees (A.C.T.) Award 1965. Foremen Stevedores Award 1970. Foremen Stevedores (Northern Territory) Award 1970. Fruit Growing Industry Award 1965. Gas Industry Award 1970. General Clerks (Northern Territory) Award 1961. Glass Workers Award 1971. Gold and Metalliferous Mining (Northern Territory) Award 1968. Groote Eylandt Mining Company Award 1971. Gypsum Procurement (Colonial Sugar Refining Company Ltd) Award 1965. Hairdressers (A.C.T.) Award 1965. Hardman Chemicals Pty Ltd (Interim) Chemical Award 1970. Hobart Tramway and Omnibus Award 1955. Hop Industry Award 1965. Hospital Employees, etc. (Nursing Staff- A.C.T.) Award 1966. Hospital Employees (Professional and General Staff- A.C.T.) General Terms of Employment Award 1967. Hospital Employees (Dental Staff- A.C.T.) Award 1967. Hospital Employees (General Staff- A.C.T.) Award 1967. Hospital Employees (Pharmacy Staff - A.C.T.) Award 1967. Hospital Employees (Medical Officers- A.C.T.) Award 1967. Hospital Employees (Radiographers - A.C.T.) Award 1970. Hospital Employees (Administrative Staff A.C.T.) Award 1966. Horse Training Award 1968. Hotels and Retail Liquor Industry Award 1971. Hotel Employees (Northern Territory) Award 1967. Hydrocarbons and Gas (Production and Processing Employees) Award 1971. Insulation Materials Manufacture (Bradford Insulation (Victoria) Pty Ltd) Award 1964. Insurance Officers (Clerical Indoor Staffs) Award 1969. Insurance Officers (Life Superintendents) Award 1969. Journalists (Copley News Service) Award 1970. Journalists (Commercial Broadcasting) Award 1971. Journalists (Herald Gravure) Award 1951. Journalists (Metropolitan Daily Newspapers) Award 1971. Journalists (National Press Pty Ltd) Award 1947. Journalists (Newton Publications) Award 1970. Journalists (Northern Territory) Award 1971. Journalists (Press Agencies) Award 1971. Journalists (Provincial Non-Daily Newspapers) Award 1971. Journalists (Provincial Television) Award 1969. Journalists (Regional Daily Newspapers) Award 1970. Journalists (Television) Award 1971. Laundry Employees (A.C.T.) Award 1966. *Life Assurance Agents Award 1967. *Life Assurance Collectors Agents Award 1970. Liquor Trades (Breweries) 1968. Liquor Industries (Yeast and Vinegar Section) Award 1971. Liquor Trades Hotels (A.C.T.) Award 1965. Liquor and Allied Industries Aerated Waters (A.C.T.) Award 1957. Liquor and Allied Industries Catering Etc. (A.C.T.) Award 1968. Liquor and Allied Industries Hotels, Hostels, Clubs and Boarding Establishments Etc. (A.C.T.) Award 1966. Liquor Industries (Wine and Spirit Stores) Award 1968. Liquor Trades (Racecourses, Showgrounds, etc. Casuals) Award 1968. Meat Processing Award 1968. Metal Trades (A.C.T.) Determination No. 13 of 1947. Milk Treatment and Distribution Employees (A.C.T.) Award 1967. Miscellaneous Workers (A.C.T.) Award 1968. Miscellaneous Workers Union Chemicals and Plastics (Building Materials, etc. - St Regis ACI Pty Ltd) Award 1971. Miscellaneous Workers Union - Selleys Chemical Co. Federal Chemical Award 1970. Motels Award 1971. Mount Bundey Iron Ore Mining Award 1970. Municipal Employees (Geelong Waterworks and Sewerage Trust) Award 1967. Municipal Officers (Brisbane City Council) Award 1969. Municipal Officers (New South Wales) Award 1955. Municipal Officers (New South Wales Electricity Undertakings) Award 1964. Municipal Officers (N.S.W. Electricity Undertakings) Salaried Division Award 1969. Municipal Officers (N.S.W. Electricity Undertakings) Senior Officers Award 1969. Municipal Officers (Queensland) Award 1968. Municipal Officers (Rockhampton City Council) Award 1968. Musicians Award 1960. Newspaper Printing Award 1966. Northern Territory (OH Companies) Award 1971. New South Wales Government Omnibus Traffic Employees Award 1963. Oil Drilling Rig Workers Award 1971. Oil Refinery Employees (Ampol Refineries Ltd) Award 1970. Pastoral Industry Award 1965. Painters (A.C.T.) Determination No. 8 of 1948. Plasterers (A.C.T.) Determination No. 22 of 1941. Plaster of Paris (Colonial Sugar Refining Company Ltd) Award 1969. Plaster of Paris (Australian Gypsum Ltd) Award 1970. Plumbers (A.C.T.) Determination No. 36 of 1948. Poultry Farm Employees (A.C.T.) Award 1964. Retail and Wholesale Shop Employees (A.C.T.) Award 1968. South Australian Tramway and Omnibus Award 1963. Stonemasons (A.C.T.) Award 1952. Stonemasons (N.S.W.) Award 1950. Storemen and Packers (A.C.T.) Award 1971. Storemen and Packers (Bond and Free Stores) Award 1968. Storemen and Packers General Stores (Northern Territory) Award 1969. Storemen and Packers (Oil, etc. Stores) Award 1971. Tanning (Furred Skins) Industry Award 1970. Tanning Industry Award 1968. Tenpin Bowling Industry Award 1961. Tenpin Bowling (Managers) Award 1969. Theatre Managers Award 1971. Theatrical Employees (Film Processing) Award 1971. Theatre Managers (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pty Ltd and Others) Award 1971. Theatrical and Amusement Employees Award 1947. Theatrical Employees (Drive-In Theatres) Award 1956 and 1962. Theatrical Employees (Motion Picture Production) Award 1959. Theatrical Employees (Recreation Grounds, etc.) Award 1968. Theatrical Employees (Sound Engineers) Award 1954. Theatrical Employees (Stadiums) Award 1950. Timber Workers Award 1970. Tramway Employees (Melbourne) Interim Award 1958. Transport Workers (Airways) Award 1968. Transport Workers (Oil Companies) Award 1970. Transport Workers (A.C.T.) Determination No. 18 of 1947. Transport Workers Garbage (A.C.T.) Award 1970. Transport (Interstate Drivers) Award 1963. Transport Workers (Oil Stores) Award 1958. Transport Workers (Passenger Vehicles) Award 1968. Uranium and Metalliferous Mining (N.T.) Award 1971. Waterside Workers (Container Terminals) Award 1968. Watchmen, Caretakers, Cleaners and Lift Drivers (A.C.T.) Award 1967. Wineries Award 1969. * Awards containing a clause under the heading 'Preference' which, although not truly preference clauses, provide that there shall be no discrimination against workers of the relevant union or prospective members of such union. {:#subdebate-26-14} #### Defence (Question No. 4955) {: #subdebate-26-14-s0 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: asked the Prime Minister, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has he been resisting pressure from certain professional Communophobes belonging to a fanatical right-wing political faction in matters affecting the defence of this nation; if so, will he continue to do so. 1. Can he say whether the members of this group who presume to give the Government their unsought advice on the question of defence are men who have never seen service in any war and have sons who have avoided service in Vietnam. {: #subdebate-26-14-s1 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- The answer to the right honourable member's question is as follows: >The Government's Defence Programme is decided following consideration of recommendations by the Minister for Defence. This practice will continue. World War II: Exemptions from Military Service (Question No. 4932) {: #subdebate-26-14-s2 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr Calwell: asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Do official records disclose that Messrs B. A. Santamaria, K. Mitchell and F. K. Maher were exempted from service in World War II. 1. If so, was it because they were engaged in work of national importance. 2. If the work was of national importance, what was the nature of it. 3. If the reason for exemption was not because of engagement in work of national importance, what were the grounds for exemption. 4. Is it a fact that no exemptions from service in World War 11 were granted unless applications to the appropriate authorities were submitted by those concerned, and were approved. 5. If so, how did these persons evade war service. {: #subdebate-26-14-s3 .speaker-KDT} ##### Mr Fairbairn:
Minister for Defence · FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -- The answer to the right honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. to (6) Exemptions from military service in World War II on the grounds of reserved occupation were approved by manpower authorities and were not conditional upon individual applications. Commonwealth records relating to individual exemptions were destroyed over twenty years ago. There is no evidence whether Messrs Santamaria, Mitchell or Maher were exempted from military service.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 24 February 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.